Go Read Something Else

Over the weekend I picked up an issue of NFG Magazine, published in Toronto, showcasing Edgy Writing. A lot of small, independent magazines (and a great many literary journals) tend to be full of writers who miss the forest for the trees, writing technically proficient but boring stories. NFGs stories seem to suffer less from this trend than most, perhaps partly because they have a section called 69 which contains dozens of 69-word stories, aimed at readers with “attention spans of less than 22 seconds”, and partly because, well, the Writing tends to be Edgy.

A writer would have to be amazingly accomplished to become boring in 69 words.

Normally this is the kind of thing I would read in the bookstore, spill coffee on it, and put it back in the magazine rack. I bought this one because it contained an interview with an author whose work I started reading over twenty years ago: Michael Moorcock . When I joined the Science Fiction Book Club back in 1984 the collected Elric Saga was the first book on my list, sight unseen and words unread. I devoured the entire thing in a long July weekend of adolescent obsessive/compulsive behavior, and spent the rest of the summer wishing I was a thin, red-eyed albino with a vampiric sword.

From there I moved on to the chronicles of Corum, and a few random stories about the Eternal Champion. All in all, probably about a dozen of Moorcocks’ 60-plus books.

Now I see that he has a website: Moorcock’s Weekly Miscellany . It is not updated all that often, but it is well-done and contains a wealth of information on a writer who doesn’t get as much attention as he deserves.

Books and Blank Stares

Something woke me up at around 4:00 this morning. I couldn’t get back to sleep so I got out of bed, worked out for an hour or so, then sat down to do a little work on version 2.1.0.4.6.9b of the Flash Photo Album application. This will be, I think, the fifth time in the past year that I have started to rebuild it. I won’t bother posting a date when it will be ready because, frankly, I just don’t know.

Last night after teaching the Kendall class (in which nobody cried) I stopped out to the local book merchant and picked up the new Neal Stephenson book, The System of the World. It looks quite beautiful on my bookshelf next to the first two volumes of the Baroque Cycle, Quicksilver and The Confusion . It was my intention to only pick up the one book but I stopped past the remainder tables and there, in their shiny hardcover glory, were Baudolino and The Collected What If? , which brings together What If? and What If?2. So much for saving money. So much for sleep.

Me.stay();

So I will be at work for a little while longer. The boss and I had a long talk after work today, and it put things in perspective. Enough perspective, anyway, that I will not just up and quit without having another job lined up.

You will notice, however, that I did not say I am not interested in finding another job. Time to start fleshing out my resumé.

So here is the question: From where comes the dissonance? Is it my personal life invading work, or work invading my personal life? Does the line need to be re-drawn in a more permanent color?

Time will tell.

Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt

Today I am/was/will be absolutely buried under work at my day job, so I cut the Kendall class a little short. To make up for this I gave my students their first homework assignment.

I got a few heartfelt (hah!) “Awwww”s about my workload, so I told them to use me as an object lesson, if any of them are insane enough to want make a career out of web development. Long hours, burnout, and the joy of watching project after project march off into IT Department oblivion, said I.

Well, honestly, whattayagonnado? It’s a living. It’s a steady paycheck. If you are not too burned out to care, you can learn something new with every project. And if you are too burned out, you will learn how long you can work without falling to pieces or killing your co-workers.

But you know…there are times when a week of rest feels more important than all the clients in the world.

Elite is 31337

I was feeling bored nostalgic bored at work today so I spent some time browsing around the int0rw3b. As luck would have it, the first site I surfed to, The WikiPedia , had some interesting stuff in it. Specifically, a link to an entry on Harun al_Rashid . He was the Caliph in the Thousand Nights and a Night , and more recently he was the central character in issue 50 ( Ramadan ) of Neil Gaiman‘s Sandman comic book .

After looking up a few other random words I typed in “elite”. This returned a variety of possible results, one of which was subtitled “computer game”.

Could it be?!? YES! An entry on the greatest computer game of the 1980s!

Doing a Google search brought up a great BBC article on the people who created the game, all those years ago. I am still in the process of looking for good ports of the original to a PC platform. They are surprisingly, frustratingly, few and far between — although this one looks promising. I say “surprisingly” because there is nothing about the game that could not be easily done in Flash.

So if I don’t find any good results in the next few weeks, I guess I will have to quit my job and build it myself!