a collection of interesting and not-so-interesting things. including information on current & upcoming projects.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Werner Herzog ... the greatest?

If, for a minute, you thought that Werner Herzog was not the greatest, think again. The following is from WENN (World Entertainment New Network, Ltd):

German director Werner Herzog was shot by a crazed fan during a recent interview with the BBC.

The 63-year-old was chatting with movie journalist Mark Kermode about his new film, documentary Grizzly Man, when a sniper opened fire with an air rifle.

Kermode explains, "I thought a firecracker had gone off.

"Herzog, as if it was the most normal thing in the world, said, 'Oh, someone is shooting at us. We must go.'

"He had a bruise the size of a snooker ball, with a hole in. He just carried on with the interview while bleeding quietly in his boxer shorts."

An unrepentant Herzog insisted, "It was not a significant bullet. I am not afraid."

Metafiction... Sesame Street style

i was reminded of this book today, perhaps my first exposure to innovative literature (and maybe your own)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Dinosaurs are still cool.

Man, I love THIS COMIC!

in Saskatchewan now, visiting Mandy, soon will be going home to Ontario for a visit with the family, then to Winnipeg for visiting and editing/completing my second short film as director, Opening Band.

this is where you can help me out... I am currently trying to decide what to do for my next short film. I want to do something different this time, and have decided to adapt a short story by a Canadian author. so I am looking for potentially adaptable stories by potentially agreeable authors. any suggestions?

who's your favourite short story author in Canada? any particular short stories you would suggest i take a look at?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Angry Again

i was trying to sleep, but woke up because i was too angry to dream. here is what was making me so angry. this "i give up" attitude in the publishing industry is infuriating. not only the book publishing industry but also the movie and music industry are riding similar bandwagons to hell. the despair over the decline of the book. "nobody's buying books!" this is NOT TRUE. books sales are up, however slightly. it is single title sales which are down. what does this mean? not that you need to abandon fiction, per se, but that you need to reassess the market and operate under a different business paradigm -- with less emphasis on single titles and a greater emphasis on author "brand" names and publisher "brands" as well as imprint subscriptions, sales of related ephemera, etc. it is time not only to reconceive the structure of the publishing industry, but to reconceive what constitutes a "book" -- to determine the limitations and the possibilities of the book industry in this new millenium.

it all reminds me of the music industry. here is an industry who began focusing on a Top 40 format -- singles-oriented radio -- and then was surprised when people began downloading singles and stopped buying albums. that invested in quick-boom, disposable artists who would peak early and drop off, instead of investing in career artists who would produce lower initial sales but whose fan base would support them steadily if not increasingly over time. that aggressively markets a small number of artists, and then is surprised when people grow sick of these artists. that caters to casual listeners, people who buy less than 10 albums a year for a period of about 10 years, instead of people who care about music and typically buy 15-30 albums a year for the majority of thier lives. then napster comes along, and they are surprised by a lack of brand loyalty. and when overall album sales go up, but single title sales go down, they bemoan the failing industry (in which consumers purchase and listen to more music than they did previously).

message to the large book publishers: people are still buying plenty of books. they are just not buying YOUR books. in other industries, researchers determine why market trends have shifted, and then adapt business practices so that the industry can continue to grow and thrive. in the entertainment industry, businesses blindly stumble forward, increasing the desperation with which they flail, sinking larger amounts of money into failing practices in the hopes that money will magically solve everything. and then complain of rising costs.

the only entertainment industry that has really come out on top of this all (aside from the porn industry, which has profited for similar reasons) is the gaming industry, which is realizing incredible profits. this is largely because the gaming industry has succeeded in one particular area where other entertainment industries are failing. they have considered the impact of new technologies in terms of their impact on the FORM of their product as opposed to simply considering it in terms of its potential as a new delivery method. when the internet rolled around, how did the publishing world react to its presence? by offering "e-books" -- scanned books! -- instead of investing in experimental hypertext work which reconceptualized the book itself to make fiction newly accessible to a changing audience. an absolutely luddite, ridiculous approach to the astounding potential of digital technology. only now am i seeing value-added packaging when books enter softcover printings (I'm seeing this on HarperCollins books, where they've appended interviews and major reviews, etc, to the back of books which ran previously in hardcover). and why do so few authors have web sites? or book-specific blogs, which cost NOTHING?

(the movie industry is even worse. message to the movie industry: STOP SPENDING OVER $100 MILLION DOLLARS ON MOVIES FOR PEOPLE WHO WATCH THREE MOVIES PER YEAR. "nobody's watching movies!" they're watching movies AT HOME. they are DOWNLOADING MOVIES. they are STILL WATCHING MOVIES -- JUST NOT PAYING YOU. the solution? "let's try to stop piracy!" NO. YOU IDIOTS. the obvious solution is to reconceptualize the theatrical experience, so there is a reason to attend the theater instead of downloading a movie and watching it on your plasma screen. instead they throw money at the problem. "let's spend $200 million on the next one!! increase the marketing budget!!" hmmm.... not a bad idea.... or, you could STOP MAKING TERRIBLE MOVIES. and STOP CHARGING $10 FOR POPCORN. and INCORPORATE LIVE ELEMENTS TO MAKE THE MOVIE-GOING EXPERIENCE LESS HOMOGENOUS, DIFFERENTIATING IT FROM THE HOME-THEATRE EXPERIENCE... etc.)

the whole thing will come crashing down, like the music industry is crashing down, and (like the music industry) the winners in the whole debacle will be the small presses that manage to (collectively) step in to fill the vaccuum. and maybe a few intelligent publishers will clean up their acts. but don't bet on it.

why doesn't anybody ever market to me and people like me? i read 50 books per year. i watch 30-40 movies per year. i probably listen to 100 different albums every year. but why bother marketing to me? instead, they market to people who buy 5 albums a year (maybe), watch less than 10 films, and probably read less than 2 or 3 books. ridiculous.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Meat Puppets

Listening to the Meat Puppets today, an incredibly underrated band (in my opinion) -- and that's keeping in mind all the hype surrounding the band in the 1990s. In case you THINK you don't know the Meat Puppets, think again... they backed Nirvana up on Unplugged in New York and Kurt & crew covered three of their songs on that album: "Plateau," "Oh Me," and "Lake of Fire."

Ran across this site which all Meat Puppets fans will love... it's basically a blog/archive maintained by drummer Derrick Bostrom, with all sorts of neat stories and things, including the demos for the No Joke album and Bostrom's own blog.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

mysteriously, another chapbook

i've received a mysterious missive from the mysterious people at the mysterious NO press that another chapbook of mine has been accepted. so this should be out sometime, i'm guessing later this summer, hopefully by the time the Calgary Blow-Out Festival occurs. the chapbook is called To Begin and i will keep you posted on developments, not sure how many copies i'll receive or anything like that. it is all very mysterious, but pleasant nonetheless. i should get another chapbook going somehow, make it a hat trick. hmmmm......

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I'm a winner, baby. Please don't kill me.

I just won a contest I had forgot I entered, the first Cubicle Press Chapbook Contest. So that's pretty cool. I guess that means I have a chapbook coming out, a collection entitled Monsters.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

the Mars Volta

Jon Paul Fiorentino challenged blogging poets to post their favourite lyrics. Well, here is my current fave, from the Mars Volta.

Miranda, That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore
(Part A: Vade Mecum)

I’ve always wanted
To eat glass with you again
But I never knew how
How to talk without
Walls dropping on the eve

The nest they made couldn’t break you
Along the fallen scowled a fence of beaks
But the temple is scathing
Through your veins they were scaling
Through an icepick of abcess reckoning

And when Miranda sang
Everyone turned away
Used to the noose they obey

And whoever said that they would scatter
Separating the mother from child
She can bat a broken eyelid
Raining maggots from its sty
And with the traces that she leaves
She will skin you out alive

All the children go grinding their jaws
The sweet smell of their toothless canals
And the dam she will break
Make an ocean from this lake
As they siphon off all of our blood

And when Miranda sang
Everyone turned away
Used to the noose the obey

Saturday, June 03, 2006

New Pubs, Awards, etc

I am back in Calgary as of today. Had a great time in Saskatchewan and Toronto. Lots of new news:

--- apparently Spoony B played at the Boston Underground Film Festival in March, though of course nobody told me (i'm only the person who made the film) -- in fact, it appears that the film screened at Harvard University!

--- i had some work accepted in the forthcoming massive anthology known only as the Outside Voices 2008 Anthology of Younger Poets

--- the new NoD magazine is out and features three visual poems by yours truly

--- i won the Kathleen and Russell Lane Award which is a $1000 scholarship for the best piece of creative writing produced by a student in the past year at the U of Calgary, so I am very happy about that. i also received one of the ATJ Cairns awards, very good news.