Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Sunny and cold
Doesn’t it feel good to have Mercury direct? But boy, were there a lot of car accidents on the road yesterday!
So, the HP Deskjet isn’t working for me. It’s not a lemon or anything, I simply made the wrong printer choice. I’m trying to fix it, now that Mercury is direct and I won’t shoot myself in the foot by purchasing electronic equipment. I found another Canon that seems more in line with what I want – and prints more than double the pages per ink tank. And Canon actually answers my questions. I’ll still get my big Canon all-in-one fixed – but I’ll have the little one as a backup. It’s not a Baby Bubble, but it seems to be the next generation of that type of printer.
I tried HP; we’re not a good match. I’m glad I didn’t panic-convert everything to HP, or I’d be REALLY unhappy now, instead of simply resigned to figuring out another choice.
The fact that their customer service sucks also plays into it.
I had questions for Canon and they answered me within two hours, giving me information, walking me through things I didn’t know how to do to check system compatibility. Turns out their Pixma ip1800 IS the new version of my beloved Baby Bubble, so I’m ordering it today.
Staples refuses to let me return the HP, and HP can’t be bothered to answer any questions. So . . ..as soon as my Pixma is hooked up, I will offer my almost-new, in perfect working condition ink hog HP for sale at a discount. For someone who doesn’t print non-stop, it’s a great printer. For me – I’m changing ink tanks at least every other day, sometimes every day. It simply doesn’t make sense.
And, next week, I’m taking the Multi-pass in for repair.
Canon, I’m back, and I’m sorry I strayed! 🙂
Got one of the sets of notes back from a Trusted Reader on MEDUSA yesterday. Her notes are great. She caught my bad habits – overuse of certain words, etc. She was annoyed at the places I hoped she’d be annoyed – there are times when Justin is an annoying little shit, acting much younger than his chronological age; I wanted it to grate, and it does. There are also places where I need to adjust some of Gwen’s behaviour. The reader needs to know why she’s shutting him out, even if he doesn’t yet, and we don’t get enough into her head to know why. I don’t want to get into big interior monologues – most of it can be adjusted with a sentence or a gesture here and there. What’s also great is that there are places where I felt I wanted to take more time but couldn’t, and she wants more time there – so my instincts were correct, and I can go back and rework some scenes. In spite of the manuscript being over 400 pages, it only runs about 93K because it’s dialogue-heavy, which means I have a few thousand words to work with; and, as I go through it, I’m sure I’ll make some more internal cuts, especially in dialogue, to tighten the flow. She was pleasantly surprised by a surprise I had near the end – AND she didn’t catch the thing I was afraid would send up a red flag, but I want to get away with. And if SHE didn’t catch it, my first reader didn’t catch it, and if (there’s a big if) the other reader who’s still working on the book doesn’t catch it – I’m home free with it. It’s a detail that I really, really, really want to keep because to me, it sets up a character arc for the three books.
What mortified me was the amount of typos she caught. I really thought I’d gone over it with a fine-tooth comb and caught everything. Boy, was I wrong. And, she caught a few places where I made cuts and hadn’t smoothed out bridges. I went back and checked, and, in one place, it’s on the page I printed, but not in the saved document. Did I not hit “save” when I edited, but printed first?
I try to keep in a rhythm when I edit: Work on a hard copy in red; put the changes into the document; read it through and add/cut more; save; proof; save; print; check the word count; save the back-up; close; move on to the next chapter. Overly paranoid, but I’ve lost too much work not to be that cautious.
I’m excited to get back to it.
The notes and outline for BALTHAZAAR TREASURE are coming along very well, too. I’m excited to put the tweaks into MEDUSA this weekend and to revise the pages I’ve done so far on BALTHAZAAR. I’m starting to understand the dynamics of this kind of expedition, which are very different than the dynamics in MEDUSA and very different than the land-based dig in Scotland for SANDOVAL
Acupuncture was great, although getting to and from Long Island was a nightmare. In spite of the holiday, the traffic was worse than ever, and accidents all the way there and back. I guess, because it was 65 degrees F, everyone wanted to get out. It’s colder again today, and tomorrow we get snow.
Finally got to watch THEY CALL HIM SASQUATCH last night. Mixed feelings, and I see why it went straight to DVD. Most of the cast is great. It was wonderful to see Neal McDonough in a comedy, and doing something where he doesn’t get killed, his ass kicked, or mutilated. He was very funny, especially in the beginning. The early scene in the car is worth the whole movie, in my opinion. He nailed that scene – especially if you’ve worked in the business, he had so many nuances layered under the obvious – I nearly fell out of my chair, I was laughing so hard. Later in the movie, I would have given his character a slightly different track, but that’s me rewriting the movie. There’s some clever stuff, the cast, for the most part, is good, there’s good scene work, but the story line veers off from unusual cleverness into comedy sketch and then further into frat boy stupid humor, which is not my thing AT ALL. And the way the female characters were written were downright insulting. The wife character who believed she had a psychic connection to Bigfoot was good, mostly because the actress rose above the material, and the guy who played her husband had such a great rapport with her. The woman who played the teenaged daughter – she wasn’t given anything to do and there was no reason for her to be there. And the sex-starved bimbo – made me froth at the mouth. Every bad cliché you can imagine. Now, I worked on musical the year I lived in Seattle written by the woman who wrote ANGRY HOUSEWIVES. The number that brought down the house every night was “Bigfoot’s Love Slave” which was a CLEVER, NON-CLICHED treatment of a similar idea as presented in this movie. The male characters were all allowed to turn their clichés inside out; the female characters (except for the wife, who refused to be boxed) were trapped in them. And that pissed me off. It’s one of those things were you go, “Yeah, written by a man (or men) with no understanding of how women are wired and couldn’t care less to find out.”
It looks like it was a fun set on which to work, but the result . . .yeah, straight to video. I laughed at some parts of it, but, again, a movie that could be good and misses is more frustrating than one that’s just awful. And this could have been really good and really clever and really broken ground with a little more humanity in the script instead of solely relying on the actors to bring it to the table. The production design was terrific – the details were just astonishing, especially since I suspect the budget was pretty tight. And I felt there were quite a few misplaced sound effects that worked against the film instead of shoring it up. You know you’re in trouble when you start noticing the sound effects. There were also logic and continuity lapses that bugged me, mostly with characters in the background of a first part of a scene and then not in the rest – it could have been the logistics of scheduling – but I kept going, “He was in the last shot; why isn’t he here? They didn’t walk anywhere, yet suddenly they’re away from everyone else” – stuff like that.
That’s the problem — when you’ve stood on a set and had to watch for continuity errors, someone else’s scream out! It’s like editing – it’s easier to spot someone else’s mistakes than your own.
Still, I’m glad I saw it, and I thank whoever sent it to me.
I’m off to pack the laundry bag. My hamper’s exploding, and I’m going to pack some work and do laundry all day at my friend’s house.
But first – I’m going to order my new printer!
5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.
Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.
Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here: