I just got really worried that I was going to miss Free Comic Book Day 2004, which has traditionally been held the first weekend of May.
After checking, though, I found myself being thankful for Spider-man 2's release date, for the first time in ever.
I can't wait for free comics. I love them so. Especially after I do things like pay $7 for a single issue just because it's sold out all over LA and I dig the Bendis so. I've even updated the sidebar to reflect as much.
I left 1602 on there for a while, see, because I kept meaning to go back and reread the whole thing.
But I'll have to get to that later. New comics first!
Today's going pretty well. I got some cheap sunglasses at lunch, because my old sunglasses were scratched and possibly lost last night, my boss is letting me take off early, and there'll be comic books and sushi and The O.C. tonight.
My brain's been superscattered. I need to post actually interesting updates, talk about the things I've seen recently and the things I've done. But -- there's work to do. Life to live. The usual.
In short -- happy unbirthday to you all, except Jay Leno, Ann-Margaret and Saddam Hussein. And, uh, me.
I finished the Em and Lo book a while back, and while I'll have to start my next review book fairly soon, right now my reading is down to only Love Medicine and Jazz. I may make a big push tonight on one of them, as I've got some time due to staying up late last night and sending off some things that very much needed to be sent off.
I also want to go to the gym tonight ("want" being an oddly defined word in this instance). I also need to work on my submission for next month's Ostrich Ink. I also want some sleep, and to finish watching the first disc of Strangers With Candy season one, and to solve the plot problems plaguing the po-mo rom-com.
Also from Pound: StitchGuide.com is downright erotic, what with the needles and the thread and the oh-so-sweet videos demonstrating the previous bane of my existance, the purl stitch.
This, combined with the upcoming arrival of Stitch 'N Bitch, means that it's a good thing I finished Scarf the Fourth on Saturday, as I'm sure it'll be time for a new project after then. Scarf the Fourth is very similar to Scarf the Third, which was given to Caz moments before I departed jolly ol' England -- it is longer, but thin and a deep dark red I love.
I have no idea what Scarf the Fifth will be. I don't even know if it'll be a scarf.
Das Bookslut had a bad comics-buying experience the other day, due to a preponderance of boobs, and it made me realize how much has changed since the crappy old days of wandering into Local Comic Book Store to buy Sandman trades. I know my Bendis and Simone now, I've read From Hell (twice!), I've been to Comic-Con... I'm an official comics nerd now, and as a result I'm no longer afraid to talk to the guys who work there. This has only taken about two years, and I've never gone so far as to ask their names or anything. But I do feel a sort of comfort in popping in and seeing the Stalwart Potato Guy, Guy Who Looks Like That Guy I Went To College With, and The Chick Who Isn't The Chick Who's Married to the Owner. The Chick Who Isn't The Chick doesn't work very often, though, and I find myself dealing more frequently with Potato Guy and College Guy. Who are lovely chaps.
A few Wednesdays back, I joined a few friends at LCBS for some browsing. There was nothing I needed to buy, but I'm very good at hanging out at a comic book store and talking to fellow nerds.
"Damn it," A said. "They don't have the new Planetary."
"It came out today?" I asked.
"Yeah. But it was sold out at the other place I went to. It's supposed to be great."
"You should go ask at the back," I said. "They tend to keep some copies in reserve back there."
He gave me a long, pointed look.
I got it. "You want me to go and ask, don't you?"
"Yes," he said.
So I smiled, and I went to the back of the store, and I leaned forward against the counter, and I asked real nice. And the guy rummaged through a box of extras and gave me a copy of the new Planetary.
Later, over drinks, I told A the story of how one day they were out of the new issue of Birds of Prey, and I asked real nice, and College Guy pulled a copy for me from someone's reserve box, as he knew the someone in question wouldn't be picking up their stuff until after the reorder had come in.
"That's so wrong!" A exclaimed.
"But the guy said it was okay!" I protested. "And I was leaving town the next day!"
"Liz, that's using your powers for evil, and not for good."
But I get ogled at conventions, I get patronized when I ask questions, and it's taken me two years to find some acceptance within this strange crazy subculture. So I disagree.
OH MY GOD. We've waited for it for years. We've yearned for such a movie, such a movie synopsis, that sometimes, the waiting seemed it would last an eternity.
Now, no longer.
A two hour TV movie, coming to us Fall 2004 by the blessed folks at TNT:
Hidden beneath the monolithic New York Public Library is a repository for mankindís greatest secrets. From the Golden Fleece to the Ark of the Covenant, every enigma and artifact from every known and unknown civilization is protected from the forces of evil who, if given the chance, would use the priceless treasures for their nefarious plans.
Zombie dreams all night No tix for sold out Coachella Scripts don't write themselves
::sigh:: Two hours of re-outlining and I still can't quite nail the problems with the po-mo rom-com. I'm closer, believe me, but there are so many goddamn snags. It yearns to be one thing. I want it to be something else entirely. This is what comes with trying to defy the romantic comedy genre -- while sticking to the romantic comedy formula. It's enough to break your brain.
Plus, Coachella two-day passes and Saturday singles are both sold out and like an idiot I don't have my tickets yet. I can buy a single for Sunday and lounge around the hotel on Saturday, I can hit up scalpers... There are options. But this is still frustrating as all fuck. And I should probably make a decision soon.
Man, nerds be bitchy when they don't get their comics on time.
Damn it, when IS the next issue of Birds of Prey coming out, anyways?
Dude, pick on Kevin Smith all you like -- but don't be fuckin' with my J. Michael Straczynski. And don't be dissin' him in one sentence and then praising him in another, hmmkay?.
All that aside, dude might have a point about the industry growing overly focused on how to best tie in with the movie-going audiences. However. When I first started reading comics, I pretty much stuck with the Big Three (Gaiman, Moore, Miller), and when I started to branch out I turned to writers who I knew based on their work in other mediums. JMS and Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon occasionally wowed me, occasionally bored me -- but I trusted them with my hard-earned dollars.
His complaints about Kevin Smith seem to be reminiscient of the stereotypical Jewish mother joke: "It was so bad, and in such small quantities!" One could argue that one of the skills of the successful, talented comics writer is the ability to finish things, and that perhaps survival of the fittest is not limited to the jungle -- perhaps a lack of Kevin Smith comics on the shelves is enough to indicate his inadequacies. But one could also argue that I don't hate Kevin Smith's comics, and thus I don't know good writing from bad.
Now, of course, I'm all grown up and enjoy Bendis and Ellis and Morrison and Simone like a well-bred comics reader should. But the Big Name Writers will always have a fond place in my heart, because they, more than anyone, helped me realize how fantastic this medium was, and how much I could learn from it.
And if bringing Joss in for Astonishing X-Men means that another girl will one day learn the pleasures of laying in bed on a Sunday night reading Persepolis? Count me in.
I tried to explain the bliss of Diner Coffee to Eric last weekend. I didn't do a very good job of it. But now, I'm in a position to make my position more clear.
(Today, see, began at 5 AM, when I woke up with a need to use the bathroom and couldn't get back to sleep, despite an hour of fitfull attempts. Got up at 6, talked to Caz on IM while getting ready to go, and headed down to Canter's, one of the classic original Jewish delis in Los Angeles, for PANCAKES and the sweet bliss of a cuppa.)
Here is why diner coffee is the best coffee you'll ever drink. It's the first thing your waitress offers you, and it comes in a thick ceramic mug, heavily glazed, that would knock a linebacker unconscious if hurled properly. It also comes with a vast amount of little plastic individual servings of creamer (or, potentially, a small metal cup of cream, small beads of perspiration dotting the cool steel) and one of those pourable sugar canisters.
You add the cream immediately, hoping to rush along the coffee cool-down process. Then, you pour sugar into the mix until wafts of cream float up from the bottom of the cup, lightening the hue of the coffee to a pale beige. Take a few big sips as soon as it's cool enough to drink. Did you add too much sugar or cream? No worries -- the waitress will be by to top you off in two minutes, diluting the sweet creaminess down to acceptable levels. Adjust, remix, enjoy. Enjoy for hours, if you have the time. Sit, read your paper, drink your diner coffee, and enjoy the sweet mellow buzz that comes with heavy, sweet caffeine.
All right, I get it! If you take medicine, your symptoms go away and you feel much better. I understand now! It makes sense! Robitussin, you have shown me the way!
Really, there's this thing I'm doing now. It's called breathing through my nose. It's really quite awesome. And the coughing! The coughing is Hemingway no more. It is a weak girly-girl cough. It's Jane Austen. By the end of the weekend, I have no doubt that Helen Fielding could take my cough in a fight.
And that's what they call a good thing.
My brain's got all this oxygen now. It's going a bit crazy.
Last night, I actually got work done! I did things that needed to be done, and I did them pretty well! And then I took a shower, got into my pajamas, and watched me some Mark Burnett. Survivor wasn't bad, though I think my taste for this sort of thing is fading quickly -- I've been enjoying this season, but don't anticipate watching again. I also went ahead and watched The Apprentice for kicks. But sweet Jebus, it was long. And a little dull, truth be told. I think if I'd been watching the series in toto, it would have had a bit more of a kick, but it's hard for me to get wrapped up in in the drama of Bill Can't Find That Sign.
I think the Week of Hibernation and Laziness will come to an end soon, and I'll be able to get down to the business of writing. Because I'm pretty good at sitting on my ass and doing nothing. But I'm even better at sitting on my ass and doing something.
Writing submitted yesterday was rejected today. Ah well. It happens. Blah blah blah failure as a human being fishcakes.
However! I did go to the doctor today. And she was pretty gruff with me when she found out that I hadn't been taking any medication; I'm supposed to get some Robitussin and VapoRub and if that doesn't work over the next few days it's Fun With Antibiotics Time!
Yeah, roll your eyes at me all you like. Medication costs money. And my tax refund hasn't come back yet -- I only sent the stuff off today.
But I got it all sent off! I'm going to get a refund! All of these things are awesome.
Doctor Lady says that I should get plenty of rest. So tonight, I think I may fall asleep watching reality TV. Maybe before 8, I'll make some calls, do some writing. But my body screams sloth these days. And it's hard not to listen.
...I did finish Wonder Boys this weekend. Whoot. I think I'm gonna start a big push on Jazz next. By writing that, of course, what'll happen is I'll end up finishing Love Medicine in one night. It certainly grabs me more.
I'm not sick. At least, I don't feel sick. Well, except for that low-energy thing. And the runny nose. And the coughing.
Oh, sweet Jesus, the coughing.
I've always been susceptible to coughs. Chronic bronchitis and I go way back. When I was a kid, this meant a daily regime of medications that never did any good. Now that I'm a grown-up, I just cough for a week until it goes away, usually right after I've recovered from some cold-like bug. I avoid the movies. I suck my body weight in honey-lemon cough drops. I lose a pound or two, as my appetite for junk food decreases when my mouth has been thoroughly sterilized by honey-lemon methol. In short, I deal with it, and eventually it goes away.
This cough that's developed over the past week or so, though, is pretty impressive by my standards. Mainly because of the productivity. I cough, and the mucus rises, and I think to myself, Well done, lungs. Well done, gag reflex. Bravo. It's a hearty cough. It's a whiskey-drinking, cigar-smoking, deer-hunting cough. It's Hemingwayesque.
Unfortunately, the people around me are not impressed. Das Roomie whined. The student worker suggested hot tea with honey. And my boss told me to go see a doctor.
"That means I have to call my HMO," I tell her. "They assigned me a PCP that isn't in the area."
So I called my HMO. And they asked me what doctor in the LA area I wanted to switch to (note to self: "just pick one for me" doesn't work). So then I went looking for a doctor on the web. And then I called the doctor's office and confirmed they were accepting new patients. And then I called my HMO back. And then I found out that the medical group I'd called didn't accept patients retroactively, and I'd have to wait until May to see them. And then I went looking for another doctor on the web. And then I called them and made sure they accepted patients retroactively. And then I called my HMO and gave them the new doctor's name and found out when I'd get my new insurance card. And then I called the new doctor and scheduled an appointment. And then I hung up the goddamn phone.
Yeah. That only took an hour.
So I'm going to go see a doctor about my Hemingway cough. I predict not-cherry-flavored syrup to be in my future. I'm not particularly pleased about that.
But I'm not particularly pleased about falling asleep at 10 PM last night while watching a Law and Order rerun. And perhaps that's related in some way.
Hey, do you think my cough has aged me fifty years?
So, the coolest thing ever happened to me yesterday. I know you don't believe it, but trust me -- COOLEST THING EVER.
I was puttering around that morning, watching DS9 and rearranging my bedspread in a new and exciting fashion, when I realized that Amoeba Records would be on the way to this picnic I'd be going to later. I'd been craving a chance to get myself some Franz Ferdinand, and I figured that I could offset the cost a little by picking out some CDs from my collection that would be easily parted with.
See, in high school I was woefully guilty of poor taste in music. I bought some truly inspired dregs. And a lot of it. So Sunday morning, I did a pretty severe culling of the collection (including stuff purchased used from Amoeba previously), and came up with about twelve or fifteen CDs I could part with. I knew they weren't going to take everything -- in fact, some of the stuff I included was stuff they'd rejected on past trips. Trying to sell Amoeba the crap I used to buy is like throwing darts blindfolded -- I'm happy if I hit the board occasionally.
Get down to Amoeba and wait in a fairly short line for the joy of having my taste in music judged. Soon, the clerk is powering through my stack, making assorted little piles and checking quality. He finds a burned CD-R layered on top of Eric Clapton's "Pilgrim." I retrieve it, planning on stowing it inside one of the rejectee's cases. I try and guess what piles are stuff he's taking and stuff he's not. The not-taking pile looks pretty big...
"Okay. $33 cash or $40 credit."
My eyes go wide. "Seriously? That's awesome!"
"Cash or credit?"
He moves to start filling out the paperwork. I reach for the six CDs stacked nearest me, assuming they'll be accompanying me home -
"Oh, I'm taking it all," the dude says.
I nearly hit the floor.
My friends don't believe me when I tell this story later. Amoeba NEVER takes everything. Behind the stone faces they adopt while sorting through the vestiges of your adolescence, you just know that the clerks are laughing at you. They sniff and judge and scowl, and you shrink inside with shame, knowing that it doesn't matter how old you were in the 90s, there is no excuse for Sophie B. Hawkins.
I mean, Sophie B. Hawkins! Obscure singles! Bad public domain covers of 1950s pop! Gloria Estefan's greatest hits! They. Took. It. All.
Das Roomie thinks the guy was new, and thus didn't know what he was doing.
I think God's a twenty-something black man with a 'fro, who spends Easter Sunday at the record store.
Still haven't done any writing. Still a horrible failure as a human being. But it's only sort of my fault!
See, got home last night at the usual time, and decided to take a big damn swing at the five scripts weighing down my side table. After about two hours and two point five scripts, however, I started to get a little drowsy. So I laid down on my bed, closed my eyes...
...and woke up to the sound of my cell phone ringing. A wrong number, yes, but a rightly timed alarm. It was 11 PM.
I sighed as I slowly returned to consciousness, stumbling around my room and calling back the people who'd called me during my coma. Once that was done, I plunked down in front of the TiVo, figuring that a precious first-season episode of DS9 would lull me back into slumber...
My phone rang again.
It was the High Priest of my cool nerdy friends. "Liz?" he said. "We're going to the Snake Pit. You must come as well."
I looked down at the tent-like sweatshirt I was wearing, toothpaste stains on the cuffs and the cracked puffy paint spelling out There's no place like Toronto! "Well, I'm..."
"Were you asleep?"
I sighed. "Not really."
"Well, we're going to be at the Snake Pit. And it will be glorious."
I gazed at my bed, the comforter rumpled by the three hours of sleep I'd already gotten, still warm from the weight of my body...
And then I changed out of my pajamas and went to the Snake Pit. A dive bar on Melrose with a fantastic jukebox, good drinkin', and a great name.
Got home at 1, finished the episode of DS9 I'd started, then crawled off to bed for a few more hours of slumber.
I had a cup of coffee at noon today. My goal? Go to the gym, go home, take a shower, and then get eight hours of sleep tonight.
I need to do some serious writing at some point, but the question is when? Saturday I'm driving down to Irvine for a sibling-esque double feature, Sunday there's a picnic and a friend's going away party... There are hours I can squeeze in, but then there's the screenplay coverage. That'll take up a fair amount of time, and it'll take a fair amount of time for the next few months.
I did a lot of paper journaling while in England, but that's a different thing from narrative. And after such an extended break, it feels surreal to start working on such things again.
Maybe I should start small. Revise that short story. Work on that comedy sketch.
Despite the temptation of television, however, tonight I have to get some things done. Balancing my checkbook, answering email. Stuff like that. Not to mention that I'm once again being thrown into the fray of bad screenwriting known as my second job -- time to start covering screenplays for That Damn Competition again. They want longer coverage this year, too. God bless double-spacing.
In that spirit, a return to the to-do list:
Download pictures from camera and begin work on England photo galleries
Read next review book some more
Work on second comedy sketch
Read a screenplay
Begin covering screenplay
Some of these things can be done while watching DS9, though.
This makes me happy.
By Friday, I should be back into the swing of my everyday life, going to the gym, writing every day, and not sleeping that much at all.
So last night was mostly a night of sloth. Talked to the folks, read a serious chunk of Wonder Boys, and then watched the pilot for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. See, SpikeTV finally remembered that it owns the rights to one of the best TV series ever. They've decided to celebrate this fact with a week-long marathon -- nine hours a day for five days.
Me TiVo, she cannae take ennymore, keptin!
I'm recording only my favorite episodes from the first two seasons (which is essentially what the marathon consists of) but this is very stupid of me, because after this week our pal Spike will be airing the entire series in order, one a day until the end of time. So I'm jumping ahead in a big way, and perhaps I shouldn't watch any of the marathon episodes, and should instead be a patient young woman and watch what they air in the weeks following. (Being careful, of course, to avoid the crappy episodes scattered liberally through the years.)
Or maybe I should go home tonight and watch the first mirror universe episode.
I like that notion quite a good deal more.
In celebration of the DS9 orgy that will soon be my life, I deleted my West Wing season pass. We had some good times, but I've seen the first four seasons in their entirity now, and have little interest in the fifth.
And last night... It was really something. To see those characters and those relationships again. The bad acting and hair and costumes washed right over me, and all of a sudden I was thirteen again, crouched beneath the TV in my parents' room, staring up in awe, hoping upon hope that this new series would be something that was all mine.
Thus was born a fangirl.
It's nice to have her back for a visit, now and again.
Just updated the sidebar a bit, to delete the book I reviewed for Bookslut this month (someday, the new issue will be up) and add the one I'm reading for this month, as well as Love Medicine, which is a trip back to sophomore year of high school, World Lit Honors, an old schoolgirl crush, and the sad, windswept, lovelorn work of Michael Dorris and Louise Erdrich.
Not to mention Wonder Boys. Man, but Chabon makes me want to write. He makes me want to stay up all night, immmersed in creating a novel. There is something beautiful about the way he uses words -- something in the way he makes me long for them.
I was thinking about my last attempt at a novel this morning. It wasn't going so bad. Yet another project.
And there are so many other books to read. I'm so in love with reading again.
I'm not drunk yet. I said I was dictating, and Caz said "Oh, you're dictating?" and I said, "Fine, I'm just reading out loud while I type" and she said, "You're drunk" and I said, "No, I'm not, that's the problem."
Okay, I may be a bit drunk.
Not a LOT drunk. Ate a huge dinner of curry, though, and that may be the problem.
Quiet day of sleeping in and wandering around today. Went for walking tour of New College (which is quite old) and Lincoln College (which is where Caz is). Then, ice cream in the grey afternoon. Then, curry. Then, drinkies.
I love the word drinkies. It's like Danny says it on MI-5. And we all love Danny.