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Battlestar Galactica Wanders the Desert

October 11, 2007

Here’s something I wrote in the comments on someone else’s post. It’s substantial enough to share here, I suppose. It felt good to get some of this off my chest, though.

So. About Battlestar Galactica:

I certainly don’t think it’s “pitch perfect.” While I enjoy the show quite a bit, and there’s a whole lot that’s right with it, the way the show introduces and then drops threads is frustrating as all hell. The lack of consequences for characters bugs the shit out of me.

Earthlink beacon and deadly disease? Oh, nevermind. Cylon homeworld out there somewhere? Whatever, I guess. Cylons want to exterminate us. Or, no, wait, they want to use us to make babies. No, no, they want peace. So they can occupy us. Unless they want to follow us to Earth. Or something. It’s all about the Cylon God. Or it used to be. But that was just Six. Or something.

What the hell is Lee Adama’s story? Not, like, what’s his background or motivation, but what is his story? When this show is over, I bet it’s just going to be a tangled mess of good-looking emo nonsense (very well played by Jamie Bamber, but still). He resents his father, but really he loves him, but really he defines himself by being CAG, except for all the insubordination, and his loyalty to the President, and all the times he’s pulled a gun on important people, or run off and hidden with them, or killed kingpins, or floated in water and wished he was dead, or become a lawyer. Or something. And gets away with it every time.

(By the way, Romo Lampkin is still a ridiculous, awful, LARP-quality character. Mark Sheppard makes that character into more than he deserves to be. I want more explanation of how these characters came to be survivors of the Cylon attack. And the occupation. You remember all that stuff, right? How do you so utterly forget the inciting event of the series? It should be influencing every character you introduce.)

Lots of good stuff in the show, but this is not a well-planned epic. This is a collection of exciting ideas, doled out in bursts, and threaded together with the appearance of a narrative trajectory. Put it another way: Ron Moore’s making it up as he goes along. And that’s fine, but let’s not celebrate the great genius behind the master plan, because there is no master plan. I reserve my judgment on the presence of genius until the end credits roll on the last episode.

Music: Tom Waits, “Walk Away”

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More Email Tomfoolery, But Also Updated

October 10, 2007

Update!: That was quick. I input the DNS settings right away, and wordstudio.net is already back up and, uh, standing around. You’ll see a lot of changes there in the coming days, now that we have a host we can do some e-commerce through. (Did you see that? That was lingo.) Until then, some links are dead as code and files shift around beneath them like tectonic plates in fast-forward. Or something. The point is, ‘sbusted now, but’ll be fixed.

You can still reach me for a short time at my gmail account, which I’ll continue checking for a few days, and will then forget about. Otherwise, please resume using my four-letter first name [at] wordstudio [dot] net as the address for anything you would ordinarily be sending me. Unless it is spam, in which case, you go to hell.

In other brief news, the WordPress theme I used as the basis for this page design is apparently no longer available. So I have to redesign this page from the ground up for its move to the new site. I’ll roll this into the complete redesign for RePaper pages, too. But what should I be doing differently? More colorful? More stuff on the page? A flaming logo? I’m taking suggestions. Hit that “Comment” button.

Powered by ScribeFire.

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Things Toby Says

October 10, 2007

Who would have thunk that I’d get the most hits ever to this site just by not having a job. Thanks to everyone who commented or wrote in with kind words. Unfortunately for those of you here looking for dirt, I can’t say much more yet about the future or the past. Not yet.

So let’s talk about writing. Sometimes, when I’m feeling like a pretentious and self-involved writer1, except I’m not actually sitting down and writing anything, I watch this clip of The West Wing (episode: “Arctic Radar”) in which Toby vets Will’s writing. I like the part where he says, “This is incredibly good, Will.” I close my eyes and imagine I’m there.

But I also like the way he describes something that’s maybe akin to writer’s block, but isn’t quite the same. Writer’s fatigue, maybe? Whatever. The point is this: Toby’s talking about how badly it’s going, but he’s still got his own “500-word stanza on American leadership in a globally interdependent age,” doesn’t he? In this little parable, “the President” is anything or anyone for whom you are writing.

(While we’re at it, I adore the writing and the timing in this clip about the funding available from the NEA.)

If you’re not a regular visitor, I expect you won’t be coming back for long, so let’s save you some time. Here are three of the most-read posts on the site. In most cases, this is because I fell backwards into valuable Google keywords. In one case, I think it’s because the post is sort of good. You decide:

1. The punchline is obviously, “So, just when I’m awake.”
Music: The Drovers, “Book of Songs”

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Any Title Except “Lone Wolf,” I Beg You

October 8, 2007

As of last Friday, October 5th, I am no longer an employee of White Wolf Publishing. I’m a freelancer once again, actively looking for contracts and assignments to add to those I already have queueing up. Likewise, I’m looking for one of those legendary “day jobs,” so I can pay my real mortgage while chasing my imaginary career.

Stop sending emails to my white-wolf.com and ccpgames.com addresses. I can’t hear you when you do that. If you’d like to contact me about work (or whatever), please send an email to my first name @ wordstudio dot net (except all assembled into a grammatical email address). If you’d like more information on what’s happening with me now, what the future holds, and what this all means for you and I, the line starts here. Let’s hope the show is worth the price of the ticket.

This is an exciting time. (An obvious lie — I mean “terrifying,” not exciting.) More commentary, speculation, rumination, and melodrama to come in the near future, since I’ll have time to blog. This time might be the explorer’s wide horizon of layered mountains hiding the misty fields laid on the mystic curve of infinity, or it might be the prisoner’s pit of drowning hours accumulating in a cell like a cistern. We’ll see. Hell, I may even cogitate. Don’t want to miss that. So do stay tuned.

Music: The Veils, “Night Thoughts of a Tired Surgeon”

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The Old Phone

October 4, 2007

Old Phone

Well, that happened.

In a way, I suppose this is a fine little allegory for the past seven days. Communications break down? I find myself unable to reach or receive the outer world? I brought this on myself? Check. Check. Check.

Anyway, at this point you shouldn’t assume that I have your phone number anymore, as it was all in the phone. So if you have my email address (the one at wordstudio.net) and you think I might want to hear from you, please send me your current contact information. Yes, you.

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About “Lair”

September 24, 2007

Tonight I’m listening to John Debney’s soundtrack for Lair1, one of the much-hyped titles unique to the PS3. The score is excellent — evocative, textured, exciting without being immature — to the point that I went to check out whatever I could find about the game’s setting at the official website. Go there, click on the Behind the Scenes link and see what may be the best concept art gallery I’ve ever seen on a video-game’s website. It’s not just pretty, but informative. It really makes me want to know more about the designers were intending for the game to be (since their testimony is the closest I’ll probably ever get, since I vow to never buy a PS3). Dragon-riding sky-knights duking it out in a war-torn, post-apocalyptic fantasy world with a full orchestral score? Sound’s terrific. Too badaboutthe game, …though.

Music: John Debney, “Elegy”

1. I wouldn’t have known it was even released if I hadn’t searched for it, since iTunes does such a lousy job of listing, cataloging, and announcing their soundtracks.

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The Book As Clay

September 22, 2007

This dude, Brian Dettmer, carves up books like they were blocks of stone — if stone was loaded full of hidden Victorian woodcuts and juxtaposed words. The sculptures he ends up with are like nothing you’ve ever seen. Fucking amazing.

Following a couple of links and slipping a sawbuck into Google I learn that Dettmer’s a native of Chicago’s western suburbs who attended classes as Columbia College Chicago and eventually transplanted himself to Atlanta, like me. This is where the similarities end, I think. I work hard to get words into books, at which point they’re no better off. When he’s through with a book, it’s art.

I like to think this is just part of his reading process. This is something he does with his eyes and his mind, and he takes in a book. He sits down in a chair by the window to read a few chapters of, say, The Cults of the Roman Empire, and when he sets the book down on the coffee table, it is something else.

Noise: Underworld, “Shudder” (Live)