Friday, July 28, 2006

False Advertising

I went clothes shopping the other day, which is usually a hassle for me, because while shopping at the mall is fun, coming home is always a rude shock as I realize just how many of the clothes I bought do not fit or look as well as they did in the store.

Last year, I outfitted my wardrobe with long tanks and short-sleeved shorts, worn under shorter sweaters and jackets. This set-up allowed me to wear normal sweaters and tops without exposing my belly.

This year, it seems that fashion has reversed itself - now, cute t-shirts worn over plain, longs-sleeved tops are all the rage. I thought this was a great idea - plain long-sleeved tops are cheap and plentiful, as are t-shirts in general. Choosing the long-sleeved shirts was easy.

Choosing the t-shirts, not to easy.

The popular tees are ones that have messages and words on them, as well as graphic designs. Now, while I'm not completely tapped out when it comes for confidence, but there are certain things I just can't bring myself to wear, because they seem, well, fraudulent.

First of all, I will not wear shirts bearing the popular slogan, "Life is better Blonde". While I AM blonde, it is a very dark, ashy blonde that regular people insist on mistaking for brown. I know I'm blonde, my mother knows I'm blonde, I don't want to wear something that ordinary people are going to take issue with. I just don't have to time to argue with irate passers-by that, yes, my hair is blonde, they're just not looking closely enough. I also don't have the energy to fend off people who try to look close enough.

Secondly, I can't wear a shirt that is insulting. Tees that say Friends Don't Let Friends Date Ugly Guys or Could You Go Suck Somewhere Else? are just asking for a fight. You can't take back a harsh word if IT'S WRITTEN ON YOUR CHEST. Besides, there's too much of a chance that that second message might be misinterpreted.

Also, there are a growing number of tees that might as well say "I'm a Stupid Airhead - Date Me!" I'm not stupid, so I can't very well wear a shirt that falsely proclaims that I am - so that means shirts that say I'm Too Pretty to Sit in Class, I'm Too Popular to Learn Math, or Socializing is My Best Subject are off the list.

From the other side of the spectrum, I can't wear tees that say I'm something cool, when I'm not. Wearing a shirt that says Rock Star, Brown-Eyed Bombshell or Cute Rebel would make me feel uncomfortable, because it might let people make assumptions about me that are false. I don't like rock concerts - they're loud, and the music is whiny. I don't like rock music in general - and I can't play an instrument or sing with the amount of raw screaming needed to be truly "hardcore". I'm not a rebel either - I like rules. I take my parents' side in nearly all arguments, and I'm not the kind of person who gets off on giving the middle finger to authority figures.

I also wouldn't characterize myself as a bombshell - I'm nervous and childish and while my figure is certainly something to write songs about, my face isn't. Guys attracted by the "Bombshell" message will quickly find themselves turned off by my inquiries into whether they are Catholic or not.

I can't wear Proud to be Single because I'm really not proud to be single, not at all. I've been single since the day I was born and I'm tired of it. I simply can't be proud to be single until I've at least HAD a few boyfriends so silly that being single is preferable. And even if they did make a Ashamed to be Single - Date Me Please! a t-shirt, I still wouldn't wear it.

Always In the Driver's Seat is also unacceptable - not only literally because I can't drive, but also because metaphorically I wouldn't mind being in the passenger seat of a relationship, at least for a test-drive, since I've never been in a real relationship.

Talented In So Many Ways almost had me, but again, I'm made uncomfortable by tees that proclaim disguised slutty messages, like Two Boys are Better Than One and Flavour of the Month.

In the end, I ended up with four tees. The only one that had a coherent message on it said Seriously?. I thought it was a good indicator of my funny personality, without being overtly insulting to the reader (or googler, whichever). Plus, it reminded me of the exclamation most commonly uttered on Grey's Anatomy ("Seriously? SERIOUSLY!").

The second was white with a cool design, with the word "Beauty" in the middle. Nice and ambiguous. The third was black, and had a punky metallic design of a cross on a shield with wings, with the word "Sacred" underneath. Now, I can take "Sacred" - like "Beauty" is fairly ambiguous is regards to the personality of the wearer, and I am religious so I guess that counts. Are my bosoms sacred? You better believe it. The fourth was a dark blue that looked like it had artfully arranged paint splatters on it, and the word "Dream". Nice, simple and harmless.

And I'm not fooling anyone.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Good and The Bad (but mainly The Good) of FX's "The Shield"

My family has become officially addicted to television shows on DVD. No commercials, plenty of special features, and best of all - you don't have to pay to have the special cable channels that all the really special shows play on. In this manner, my family has gorged on numerous seasons of Gilmore Girls, The West Wing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Angel, Veronica Mars, House, and lately, The Shield.

So compelling, after we watched maybe five of the episodes of season 1, Mum and Dad rushed out to get seasons two and three. Today, we just went and bought #4, because already we've finished up on the last episodes of the third season. Ooh! Suspense! One of the best parts of the series is also one of the best parts of one of my favourite fantasy series, George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire: the grey characters. No one is evil on The Shield, but no one's clean either. So, to make this post interesting, here's a Good/Bad analysis (a la's "Fame Audit") of the main characters (warning - series spoilers ahead):

Detective Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis)
Who is He? The beloved anti-hero around which the show revolves, Vic Mackey is the leader of Farmington's strike team, a band of cops fond of breaking down doors, shooting suspects, skimming cash and drugs off of significant busts, and conveniently forgetting to follow due process. Vic Mackey is the man who makes it happen - whether he uses his testosterone-drenched charm or the threat of very real violence.
In a Word: Efficient.
The Good: Loves his kids.
The Bad: Doesn't love rats - shoots them. Even if they're cops.
The Good: Loves the ladies, and occasionally his wife.
The Bad: Bald. Short. Mean.
The Good: Pretty much single-handedly keeps the Farmington district's crime rate as low as it is.
The Bad: Despite all this, can't keep a handle on the increasingly incorrigible Shane.

Captain David Aceveda (Benito Martinez)
Who is He? The Latino police captain with little field experience and a strong political agenda. While he contented himself in the first season by throwing barely-contained fits of impotent rage while Vic and buds got away with murder, theft, and brutality, in the following seasons he offers Vic a freer reign in order to clean up the area in time for his upcoming election.
In a Word: Ambitious.
The Good: Shows genuine concern for the crime rates of Farmington...
The Bad:...mainly because it affects him politically. Nearly everything he does is based on how it will affect him politically.
The Good: Didn't kill the guy who mouth-raped him, and got his revenge the legal way.
The Bad: His unlikely alliance with Mackey often forces him onto the wrong end of Claudette Wym's contemptuous stare, and that's never good.
The Good: Will not take shit from politicians who are more concerned with maintaining status quo then with putting big baddies away...
The Bad:...which essentially makes him a big, fat hypocrite when you think about it.

Detective Claudette Wyms (CCH Pounder)
Who is She? A tough-but-fair Detective partnered with Dutch who dedicates her life to getting predators off the streets. While she's tolerant of Vic in the first season, in the following seasons Vic's dealings start interfering with her cases, which puts her at odds with both him and Captain Aceveda.
In a Word: Righteous.
The Good: Where do I start? How 'bout with the stare. You know what I mean.
The Bad: One person's "righteous" is another person's "judgemental".
The Good: No one verbally-bitch-slaps better.
The Bad: Tendency to meddle.
The Good: Damns politics to hell!
The Bad: Damns politics to hell.

Detective Holland "Dutch" Wagenbach (Jay Karnes)
Who is He? Outwardly arrogant, inwardly insecure, generally oblivious, but essentially honest and good-hearted, Dutch's partnership with BAMF Wyms is the one of the only things that keeps him from being the laughingstock of the precinct. The other thing? His insane talent to pull outrageous busts out of his ass.
In a Word: Hapless.
The Good: Awww! Look what he did with the blind kitten!
The Bad: Ewww! Look what he did with the stray cat!
The Good: He took back the planted bra clasp! You're a good man, Charlie Brow- er, I mean, Dutchboy!
The Bad: His dependence on textbook criminal psychology allows him to miss some pretty obvious clues (the one-armed victim was in the trunk, you idiot!)
The Good: His relationship with Wyms and their Good Cop, Idiot-Cop-Who'll-Trick-You-Into-Confessing act is always entertaining.
The Bad: Can't defend himself from Vic Mackey's bullying to save his life.

Detective Shane Vendrell (Walton Goggins)
Who is He? Vic Mackey's best friend and second in command, Shane is both a trusted confidant who has Mackey's back and a hotheaded loose cannon that Mackey has to clean up after. How the two have managed to remain friends is one of the show's many mysteries.
In a Word: Redneck.
The Good: When it comes to Mackey, is loyal to a fault. If Mackey told him to eat shit, he'd ask which fork to use.
The Bad: Shane would do better if Mackey remembered to tell him NOT to pee on suspects and leave his police vehicle filled with stolen cocaine unlocked while he goes for a quickie.
The Good: I challenge you to find another fictional police officer who knows more negative euphemisms for "homosexual" ("bonesmokers??"), but who's still willing to have a polite conversation with a male hustler if the subject is on tricked-out cars.
The Bad: I also challenge you to find a fictional police officer in a show after 1960 who still uses the term "darkie" when insulting a black teammate.
The Good: Devoted to his wife, despite Vic Mackey's badmouthing of her.
The Bad: Devotion would have more merit if his wife was not clearly possessive, controlling, and insane.

Detective Curtis "Lemonhead" Lemansky (Kenneth Johnson)
Who is He? Third in the Strike Team heirarchy, Lemonhead ("Lem" for short) is the one member of the Strike Team who maintains a moral conscience. When the task calls for framing a drug-dealer, ripping off the Armenian Mob, or murdering a Mexican rapist, Lem is usually the only one who thinks to question the rightness of their actions, although he always goes along with the final decision.
In a Word: Clear-eyed.
The Good: Easily one of the best-looking gents on the show.
The Bad: Comes across as kinda dumb.
The Good: Aww! He's sensative! He shows guilt! He shows pain!
The Bad: He also shows his ass on TV...wait, is that supposed to be a bad thing?
The Good: Finally showed some spine against Vic Mackey's manipulations by burning the money-train cash.
The Bad: We could have done without the whole vomiting-blood thing. And where did his Latina former-gangbanger-banger girlfriend go?

Detective Ronnie Gardocki (David Rees Snell)
Who is He? Not sure really - he's the fourth wheel of the Strike Team. Wait, that doesn't work. He's the place-filler, someone to round out the Strike Team to the nice, even number of four without contributing anything like character development or plot to the show. Lack of emotional presence makes him the prime choice for being a victim or a patsy.
In a Word: Unnecessary.
The Good: Um...well, he's certainly not the most offensive Strike Team member (that would be Shane).
The Bad: Covered up his one distinguishing feature (a drug-dealer-inflicted stove burn scar) with an ugly beard.

Officer Danielle "Danny" Sofer (Catherine Dent)
Who is She? As Julian's training officer, she helps to show the rookie cop the ropes at the start, then helps him to manoeuvre through the murky waters of police politics later on. Is also Vic Mackey's occasional mistress.
In a Word: Supportive.
The Good: Has a thing for Wagenbach (thank God SOMEONE does)!
The Bad: Also has a thing (a physical thing) for Vic Mackey. Shame on you! He has a wife! And two autistic kids! And a storage locker full of stolen cash!
The Good: Isn't afraid to put Julian in his place, in the field or out of it, when Julian relies too heavily on the word-for-word interpretations of the rulebook or the Bible.
The Bad: After a few seasons, begins to rely too much on Julian, and her constant attempts to spend more time with him come across as needy and desperate.
The Good: Holds head high, and continues to look Vic Mackey in the eye, even when she receives the short end of the procedural stick thanks to the Strike Team's meddling.
The Bad: It's high time she was taken off cutsey gimmick cases (guy attacks people with bug-spray! Fence steals ugly $10 000 chairs and ends up selling them for $10!) and given some real criminals to put away.

Officer Julien Lowe (Michael Jace)
Who is He? The baby of the show, the rookie cop who's only beginning to learn what being a real police officer is like. He is deeply, deeply religious, but also homosexual, which lends him a great deal of inner conflict that interferes with his police work.
In a Word: Naive.
The Good: Manages to be the most moral character on the show while possessing a wry sense of humour that keeps things interesting.
The Bad: That comment he made to Shane when Shane announced he was going father a child - "I didn't know you were married". C'mon. COME ON. How oblivious you can get?
The Good: Was wise enough to rid himself of his larcenous boyfriend, and refuse any efforts to rekindle the relationship - holding his own against boyfriend's pretty pretty pretty charms.
The Bad: The main reason he was able to shrug off his former lover was because he got shacked up with a wife. Now how long is that going to last?
The Good: Okay, he totally showed up Aceveda when the Captain inadvertantly stole a child's bike. That was awesome.
The Bad: Unstable - when he's not veering into self-hating Christian fundamentalism, he's sliding into a rule-bending habit of violence that Vic Mackey would approve of.

Work and More Work

Got fired from Chapter's y'all.

I know, again. And for pretty much the same reason: the managers ran out of money and time to keep all the employees they foolishly hired, so they bumped a few off the list. Since my "termination" from Coles was turned into a "transferral" to Chapters, my probationary period went on as scheduled.

Unfortunately, that mean I only got to work at Chapters for two and a half weeks before my probationary period ended. Once that period's done, it becomes more complicated to terminate an established employee, so the managers thought I was easy pickings for the Firing Squad. And, of course, I can't reapply to any Chapters, Coles, or Indigo for another nine months, because only after that amount of time can my hiring give me another full three months of probationary time.

So, it basically sucks. It sucks worse because my parents, seeing me lose my job for third time for the same reason, are convinced it's because of something I did, despite the fact that none of my managers, upon my asking them, have been able to come up with anything unsatisfactory about my performance. My parents reason is that, while I hadn't been doing a bad job, if I'd been doing a super-crazy-fantastic job, I would have so dazzled my managers with my brilliance that they would have fired someone else. Yeah, right. It's totally possible for the girl still learning how retail works.

However, I got a new job soon enough - the day after I found out I was let go, I got a call from an office where I applied in May (and turned down for Coles - ARGH!), offering me part-time work. I went to the interview and did pretty well, so while it's only part time, it's better than a kick in the head, and I can always find another part-time job to pick up the slack with.

As for my writing, I'm making progress on "Magic Doesn't Grow On Trees", but I'm only going to finish the outline for The Boy Who Would Be Queen before dumping it. My mother made a comment the other day about how much better all my "modern" writing is (ie - my short stories and my boring nonfictional essays), and how crappy my "medieval" writing is (my fantasy novels). I mean, sooner or later parents and loved ones are going to say hurtful and ignorant things about your writing, so I guess it's time I got used to it.

I'll probably continue later, though. I like writing about medieval stuff. My mom can say whatever she wants, but she doesn't know what I feel when I write, so I shouldn't take her seriously in that regard. I don't like writing about the "real world" - it's boring. There's no mythology about modern times! No folklore for modern times! I like writing escapist literature, which means things that help people to escape what's currently going on around them. And if she doesn't like it, fine. She doesn't have to read my stuff if she doesn't like it. She only has to buy it, mount it on her wall, and brag to all her friends about "her daughter the author". ^_^

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Man Who Wouldn't Listen to Voices of Reason: How M. Night Shyamalan became a laughingstock by hiring a sycophant to write his biography

First off, let me say that I think M. Night is a capable director who has produced four movies, two of which I have genuinely enjoyed. Two out of four, for a beginning director, isn't bad at all - and I think it would be even better if he wasn't so fanatically overhyped due to his insanely successful debut. I thought The Sixth Sense had a cool concept, a delightful twist at the end, and a firm grasp of the "boo!" and the "sinister-what's-that-under-my-tent?" factor that kept me interested throughout the movie.

I also adored Unbreakable. Easily my favourite Shyamalan movie, one of my favourite superhero movies, and basically one of my favourite movies of ALL TIME. At least for now. The idea of a realistic superhero, one who groans and sweats and goes red in the face as he lifts a superheroic amount of weight, one who can sense the evil that other people do, really grabbed me when I first watched it, and it held on and didn't let go until the very end. Loved it. LOVED it.

Didn't like Signs, although most of that was due to the fact that I was expecting a twist when there wasn't one, and the fact that the aliens were silly. I mean, beings allergic to water landing on a planet that is 75% poison? Where acid literally RAINS FROM THE SKY? I mean, honestly!

Didn't like The Village either, although it did have some cool visual moments. I think it's the type of movie that would benefit from people watching it a second time. The first time I watched it, I was so annoyed by the obviously-fake Puritan mode of speech the Elders adopted, but once you know the end, it's believable - but it doesn't erase the negative feelings accumulated from sitting through 90 minutes of Bad Accents For No Reason.

Anyway - back to what I hate about him. There's apparently a biography being written about Shyamalan's work on Lady in the Water (which is NOT getting good advance press, by the way). I read an excerpt in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, and my first question was: "Seriously? Seriously? Is this guy for real?" My first reaction: This is a joke. My second reaction: M. Night Shyamalan is a pretentious self-absorbed jackass man-child artiste who has no concept of how to react to constructive criticism.

It's ironic that a piece of work that is so slavishly ass-kissing to Shyamalan would induce such negative feelings against the subject. Maybe it's intentional, *LOL*. It basically portrayed Shyamalan as this social reject who needs to be put away in a quiet little box, away from reality, in order to come up with his staggeringly brilliant films, and woe to anyone who attempts to, you know, cripple his genius with, egads, reason or logic.

It showed him giving his script to his buds at Disney, it showed how these execs read it with a critical eye and didn't get it (for good reason - they were not familiar with the mythological terminology, they figured that a main character with a constant stutter would annoy the audience, they also figured that casting Shyamalan as the SECOND BIGGEST PART in the film would also annoy the audience), how they told him so at a polite dinner, and how he basically starting bawling like a baby about how they couldn't understand his perfect vision and that by rejecting his script, they were rejecting him, boo-hoo, now he had to end his six-year partnership with Disney because of ONE conversation during ONE dinner because he's allergic to rewrites and criticism, and oh, the folks at Warner Brothers will accept him, and then he can go back to his little box and write stories about delusional ghosts and fake-Puritans with bad accents and crazy people who kill small animals only the animals aren't really dead because the crazy person isn't really crazy because he's realized that the animals are a metaphor for his mental instability and that the catharsis of killing said fake-animals provides him with closure and material for a nice fur coat. Er, a nice FAKE fur coat. Or maybe it's real and that's the twist! OOooooOOooo....


Or that's the general idea, anyway. Anyhoo, it does not make Shyamalan look very good, and seems to be an embarassing judgement call. To me, as someone who's aspiring to be a screenwriter, it pisses me off when I see writers who've been given incredibly lucky breaks pissing it all away with bad behaviour. M. Night Shyamalan, how are you even going to get better if you ignore all suggestions of improvement?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Who Made the Dean's List?


Still haven't made Dean's List, though...
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
...But that doesn't mean I'll stop trying!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Do You Like Pina Coladas?

Well, I've just come up with a different plan! The Boy Who Would Be Queen and I will be doing roleplay!

See, I'll come into the bar, and he'll be there - but he'll be in a disguise, he'll have shaved off his beard and put in coloured contacts and put on a blond wig. He and I will meet, and we'll pretend that he's a completely different story - a wild and romantic and new story, not that boring old story that is currently sitting at home with his feet on the couch watching the World Cup and staining everything he touches orange with all of the Sweet Chili Heat Doritos he's been eating.

And I'll pretend I'm leaving behind my boring story, and he'll imagine he's abandoned his silly, derivative author, but he'll still have all of his good parts - the boy-dressed-as-girl plotline, the magic-as-living-creature element, all of the details and names and places, only he'll leave his bad habits at the door (the tedious dinner party scenes, the disorganized and unstructured plot line, the vague and cliched descriptions of castles and medieval political situations written by an author who hasn't bothered to research actual castles and medieval political situations). And we'll walk out of the bar acting as if we've done something very radical and cool, when really we're just making up.

I really hope this saves our relationship.

The End of the Honeymoon

I recently read, in a book on screenwriting, that the relationship between an author and a longer piece of her work (a screenplay in the example given by the book, but it can easily be applied to novels as well) is very similar to a relationship and a marriage.

You get your idea, and it's the same as meeting a new person. Things start out swimmingly, you discover you like the same things, the first few pages are blissfully easy to write and you have every hope that this will be the work that gets published, that this man will be the one that you marry.

Of course, partway in, the honeymoon is over, and you start falling into a routine that very quickly gets boring. Your hubby smacks his lips when eats, you find you can't write anything better than scene descriptions, he starts working late hours, you wonder why you were tempted to waste so much time on an idea that is evidently going nowhere, he forgets your birthday.

Even worse, soon into this relationship you start noticing other guys, you start coming up with new ideas - ideas that are so much more creative and clever then the one you've been throwing pages away on, these guys are so much more polite than the husband who won't floss and they like to pay attention to you and tell you how pretty you are (which hubby hasn't done of late), and these new ideas are just so great that it becomes obvious that you're just wasting paper and computer space by continuing with the derivative piece of crap you started with, and you know that life is too short to spend it with a man you're not satisfied with when there are dozens of beautiful men out there who will do it for him!

One has to get over that hump for a successful marriage, methinks, the same way an author has to overcome her insecurities about her story and see it through to the end. Now this isn't completely applicable to me, because I'm polyandrous with my stories. You may say I keep a handsome harem of novels and screenplays, and when I tire of one I will visit another. Usually it works, especially with short stories - I stopped by "Magic Doesn't Grow on Trees"'s place recently, and oh - he's shaved off his unsightly goatee and took a massage class! Working with other stories gives me new ideas that I can then apply to stories I've given up on.

But with novels, well, that's harder. With Shining Empress, I managed to pull myself through three drafts, and while I got to the end, I think I chickened out and didn't really make any conclusion, and in the end I didn't really have a product good enough to ship out anywhere.

So I'm having problems with The Boy Who Would Be Queen. He's become very childish of late, and I don't want to end up with a story that would be classified as "Young Adult". I realize that lots of perfectly good fantasy ends up termed as "Young Adult", but I've never visited the teen section of a bookstore since I was thirteen, and I want my novel to be on the same self as the Big-Girl Fantasy stories. I realize this is childish in and of itself, but that's my current attitude and it's putting a strain on me and My Boy.

Also, I have no idea where we're going. I stopped giving myself much of an outline past the gimmick that starts the plot off in the beginning, because more often then not (and this happened all the time with Shining Empress), I get a new flash of insight, the plot heads in an entirely new direction, and all of my plotting goes to waste. I just write and write and write in the hopes that something will come up, but right now I think I've wasted words on a generally uneventful dinner party, a mild argument that ended with a fish-eyed stare, and is going into a game of croquet where I can descibe the pretty clothes that people are wearing and not much else.

I'm very tempted to give this novel the "Extreme Makeover" - that is, write a better outline and start from the beginning, from scratch. And maybe do some research on what medieval life is really like. I made my protagonist a stable boy, then the son of a coachman, without really knowing all that much about coachmen and stables. I'm going to keep slogging at it, because I know I have some good ideas in there SOMEWHERE, but it's very hard and I'm so tempted to just do away with it completely and focus on my stories and screenplays.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


As our city is bogged down beneath the weight of a heat wave, the headaches, nausea, and periods of listlessness I have when the temperature rises beyond my melting point (25 degrees Celsius) have made reading and writing, as opposed to watching television or listening to music, the choice activity to do.

I've finally pushed my way through the last book reviews due for Green Man Review on the pile of books I received from Warner Books. It was hard, because none of them were really my cup of tea - most being bland novel adaptations of comic books, stories about spunky paranormal girls who flirt with werewolves, have sex with Scottish vampires, and socially-ignorant demons who love pizza, and silly teen novels about crazy kids who fight off drug dealers while transporting themselves into an illusory state where they can see the future.

I also finished a slew of movie reviews for SEE Magazine, which had me watching a lot of films, including Click (which I liked), The Proposition (which I really liked), Peaceful Warrior (which was generally inoffensive), and The Devil Wears Prada (which I hated). On my free time, I've also seen Nacho Libre (which was disappointing) and Superman Returns (even more disappointing - but then again, I've never been a fan of Big Blue myself).

I also went to an interesting information session at the public library which was being directed by the folks at On Spec, an exceptional speculative fiction magazine (I used to think "speculative fiction" referred to that branch of science fiction that dealt with alternative histories, but really it's a general term for fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, etc. etc.). I had heard of it, of course, but due to my ignorance of what "speculative fiction" meant, I'd never considered sending any of my stories there way.

It was a good thing I went to that session, though. I found out that they're situated right here in Canada, quite close to where I live, so that I can save on postage. I used to send my stories to Challenging Destiny first for the very reason that they were the closest and gave the swifted replies, but I think I'll have to make On Spec my go-to magazine, and not only because they are favoured by Tor editor Patrick Hayden.

So, I've given them a shot by sending them my much-revised copy of "Whiff", the short story I wrote in my Creative Writing class last spring. In the last couple of days I toned down the "cutsey" factor of the first half, changed a couple of terms around so that they were less awkward, and sent it in. I really have to be prompt about sending in stories - because if I give it a few weeks, I'll always be disappointed in the story when I look at it again and have to spend more time on rewrites.

I'm still in the planning stages of my screenplay, but that's mainly because I'm learning more about screenplays by reading books on them, and going to websites and reading actual scripts of movies. I'm currently reading James Cameron's script for the Spider-Man movie that never got made, and you have no idea how relieved I am. The story it presented was simply awful. Not only did it make Peter Parker a college senior (in the comics he gets his powers at age fifteen, and even though he took him out of high school really quickly, Sam Raimi's film still had him get his powers in time to fight the high school bully and have a meltdown in the cafeteria), but they had lots of scientific craziness at the beginning that I didn't really like. The fateful spider being irradiated by "anti-force"? Puh-leeze.

I didn't like how they made Aunt May care more about Peter getting a girlfriend then having grades, but I didn't mind how Liz Allen was the love interest here. I much preferred the sympathetic-but-crazy Ock of Spider-Man 2 to James Cameron's Doc Ock--who was an unrealistically portrayed asshat from the start and had a toady named Weiner. Tee-hee, Weiner! I'm still reading through it, though, and it's interesting how they set up scenes. I had no idea how much power the screenwriter has on the look on a movie, considering people (namely, I) can never remember the names of screenwriters the way they do directors and actors.

I always figured that screenwriters did the script, then the directors directed where the characters moved and what the sets looked like, but apparently not. I'm kinda glad. I'd love to be a successful screenwriter - if you want my shallow reasons, it's because I love movies, I'd still have a chance to win an Oscar, the pay would be great, and I'd have fame and respect but no recognition. Perfect!