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

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Haiku Horoscopes

Some people don't realize it, but I write a weekly humour column called Haiku Horoscopes. Anyway, one of my goals this year is to increase my syndication (the online site archives columns that are over a year old, with new ones running in print).

So do me a favour. Post and let me know the names of decent little weekly magazines near you. Places that are cool enough to maybe want a fun, irreverent little humour column. I am currently running in Uptown (Winnipeg) and used to run in VUE weekly (Edmonton) but VUE pulled the column -- apparently Edmontonians were confused about how to apply these horoscopes to their daily lives. At least some of them -- I've heard from many who regret the loss of the column, so maybe I'll see if SEE is interested. (VUE are still good people though, super-nice to me while I was writing for them.) Anyway, let me know about those weeklies. I want names and cities, and websites if possible, anywhere people read English.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

under review

A flattering and very astute review of the chapbook I co-wrote with derek beaulieu has appeared on Geof Huth's blog.

more Spambot literature

this machine has recombined phrases from D.H. Lawrence's The Plumed Serpent:

There was silence, then the low hum of voices and the sound of laughter.

There was silence, then the low hum of voices and the sound of laughter.

Repellent the strange heaviness, the sinking of the spirit into the earth, like dark water. Some, too shy to come right up, lingered on the nearest benches of the plaza. And when they could not breathe fire of the sun, they said: The sun is angry. A panic fear, a senseof devilment and horror thick in the night air. The man on the hill said: I am Quetzalcoatl, who breathed moisture on your dry mouths.

The Indians had come in from all the villages, and from far across the lake. The man at the drum lifted up his voice in a wild, blind song. The man on the hill said: I am Quetzalcoatl, who breathed moisture on your dry mouths.

Bone triumphs in me, my heart is a dry gourd.

And Kate turned to the darkness of the lake.

But she heard the answer away back in her soul, like a far-off mocking-bird at night.

She did not know the face of the man whose fingers she held.

It was Saturday, and Sunday morning was market. It is I, the star, midway between the darkness and the rolling of the sun.

The clutching throb of gratification as the knife strikes in and the blood spurts out!

It was like a darkly glowing, vivid nucleus of new life.

When blue morning came they would cheer up.

The whole village was in that state of curious, reptile apprehension which comes over dark people.

Beside him stood another man holding a banner that hung from a light rod. Kate could see nothing for the mass of men in big hats. It was she who lifted the motionless hand of the man in her own, shyly, with a sudden shy snatching. They were the irrepressible boot-blacks, who swarm like tiresome flies in a barefooted country.

But the police in most countries are never present save where there is no trouble.

And perhaps it is this ponderous repudiation of the modern spirit which makes Mexico what it is.


I received this spam recently. It's brilliant -- the machine has recombined sentences and phrases from Lucy Maude Montgomery's 1926 book The Blue Castle to create an entirely new text. It's surprisingly cohesive and interesting. I've cleaned up the machine errors which moved letters out of their places, and double-spaced paragraphs, but otherwise this is unedited, poetry created from a source text (http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200951.txt) by a computer program. It's not genius, but it IS a significant improvement on the original text.

In her heart she thought unashamedly: I wish Olive could know that Allan Tierney wanted to paint me.

Your eyes look like burnt holes in a blanket.

Bring no more of that devilish stuff here, he had ordered briefly. Not come home at all for meals if you wanted to.

With murky red sunsets flaming in smoky crimson behind the westering hills.

Valancy went up the rock steps and into the house. And she did not want him to be the least unhappy.

Days with a high-sprung sky of flawless turquoise.

What have I done that deserved a slam like that? You know I've often told you it was distracting.

The air was so crisp and clear that it was half intoxicating. Valancy still strove blindly to push him away. The woods will have their own way even with those obvious dandelions. Barney, I thought you were dead, she whispered. After two years of the Klondike did you think a baby storm like this could get me?

She made him stand still on his snowshoes while she repeated it. The air was so crisp and clear that it was half intoxicating.

Days with a high-sprung sky of flawless turquoise. Valancy still strove blindly to push him away.

Barney went into Bluebeard's Chamber and shut the door. Valancy turned sick before the horror of it.

Looks exactly like a picture-book, doesn't it?

To her delight, Barney gave her a necklace of pearl beads.

We must not commit the desecration of tramping through there. In short, they've no secrets, said Barney.

Never had she imagined anything so splendid. They left the doors open, and Banjo and Good Luck came and went at pleasure. Once or twice night overtook them, too far from their Blue Castle to get back.

That sounds John Fosterish, teased Valancy.

Dawdle over meals as long as you wanted to. She had no desire to peer into the locked chambers of Barney's house of life.

Today it is queen of the wild places and it is always today in the woods.

I wonder if John Foster ever spent a winter in Mistawis, said Valancy.

The sweetest sound she had ever heard was Lady Jane's clatter through the woods when Barney returned. Valancy still strove blindly to push him away. You are too hard on John Foster, said Valancy severely. Luckily Banjo got out from under in time, his whiskers bristling with indignation. He stood up, without looking at Valancy, and said casually: I suppose we'd better be hiking back.

She looked at Barney, hunched up beside her. Valancy had only one unhappy night that winter.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

why write?

"Of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method. Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not like." Walter Benjamin

Tupac is alive! (like JFK)

I've been doing two things during all of my work breaks -- listening to Tupac Shakur or watching Dave Chappelle. Both are highly recommended. Even the whitest man in the world (me) can enjoy either. So it's beautiful when the two come together. Like this:

Snakes on a Plane

There are snakes on the plane. Snakes on crack.

The movie was insane. It's not that it's even that great -- it's not that it's even particularly special -- it's that it has been so overhyped, that the premise was recognized instantly over a year ago as so ridiculously bad, that seeing Snakes on a Plane is like going to a party. A party with snakes. There were people throwing rubber snakes around, screaming out jokes, and yelling right along with Samuel L. Jackson when he informed the world that he was sick of those snakes on that plane. This is less a movie than a drinking game. I wasn't even drinking anything, and it was a blast.

So if you like snakes on planes, go see this movie. If snakes on planes aren't your cup of venomous tea, well, better stay home and watch Oprah.

That is all.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Wisdom of Samuel L. Jackson

A brilliant quote from SLJ (itself quoted from Wikipedia):

On June 3, 2006, Samuel L. Jackson said, while presenting the award for best movie at the MTV Movie Awards, "I'm here tonight to present the award everyone's been waiting for: best movie. Now, this award holds a special place in my heart because next year I'll be winning it for Snakes on a Plane. Now I know, I know that sounds cocky, but I don't give a damn. I am guaranteeing that Snakes on a Plane will win best movie next year. Does not matter what else is coming out. The New James Bond... no snakes in that! Ocean's 13... where my snakes at? Shrek the Third... green, but not a snake. No movie shall triumph over Snakes on a Plane. Unless I happen to feel like making a movie called Mo' Motha-fuckin' Snakes on Mo' Motha-fuckin' Planes."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Harrowdown Hill

Posting twice today, perhaps this is my posting for the month. I post more when I am busy because I like to nose around for new things on my breaks. Spent the day doing small business errands and tomorrow will be back to work on Kanada, after a hiatus while working on the samurai film. Also preparing an AFA grant to do a complete re-envisioning of the When I Am Hell poetry collection, now titled The Politics of Knives.

Recently, Thom Yorke put out a solo album which is actually quite good. Somehow it is very mellow and yet furious. Anyway, my favourite track is a song called "Harrowdown Hill" which is about Dr. David Kelly.

I just found the video for the track on YouTube, and thought I would share it. It is quite an interesting video, from a filmmaking perspective, in that it incorporates quite a few different formal techniques into a fairly cohesive project whose core ideas slowly bleed out from a rather benign introduction. Very poignant and understated, much like the song itself. I've tried to embed the video within this post, so if you can't see it, one of us sucks.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Samurai, Outkast, Stephen King, oh my!

a few things:

Today I finished the first draft of Samurai on 47th, or, as Dave and I like to call it, 7 Breaths. This is a feature screenplay my friend David Navratil and I have co-written for Winnipeg director/producer Joseph Novak. This is the fourth feature script we have written for Joe. The others are Son of the Storm, Way of the Samurai and Yakuza. The first attracted the attention of Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who you might remember from such films as Mortal Kombat, Rising Sun, Elektra, Memoirs of a Geisha and a bunch of other stuff. He actually signed on to the latter two, but long story short, the films languish unmade. I am thinking about petitioning for them to be made into graphic novels, but we'll see. Maybe if I have more time one day. Anyway, cross your fingers on this one -- it would be nice to have some money in my pocket.

The New Outkast album can be heard, in its entirety, here: http://www.myspace.com/outkast. I think it's incredibly cool of Outkast to offer the album for listening. It's not Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, but it's pretty solid.

In case you have been living in a cave, Stephen King completed the Dark Tower , a seven-book series which he began publishing in 1982 and finished publishing in 2004. I have been a fan of Stephen King for some time -- though many of my writer friends will undoubtably claim otherwise, I will argue up and down that King is a good writer (this isn't to say that he hasn't published his fair share -- and someone else's besides -- of crap). Anyway, I have decided to read this series in its entirety. I read the first four books before King started saying he would likely die before he ever finished it, then gave it up for dead. (The first four books were published between 1982 and 1997, and the latter three published from 2003-2004.) So I am looking forward to this as a break from my studying-reading. I recommend you also read the books. We can then talk about how great they are or how much they suck, whichever the case may be. At any rate, whether you like sci-fantasy, fantasy, horror, westerns, or metafictional literature, this series is for you. Oh, also if you want to read something that is about 4000 pages long.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

beating the system

"We are currently seeking high-quality novel-length science fiction and fantasy submissions of all types. We are not interested in young adult, horror, erotica, religious fiction, short stories, dark/gruesome fantasy, or poetry."

This is a quote from the website of Tesseracts Books, the publisher putting out Jason Christie's shortly forthcoming i-Robot Poetry by Jason Christie.

Way to beat the system, Jason!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

just a line

just needing to jot a line down somewhere where i'll see it later, as opposed to all the little notebooks and pieces of paper where i jot things down and never look at them again.

And now is shining. Things are wrong and will forever.