Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Fantasy Genre

Okay, okay, "fantasy" may be a bad stereotype. But that's what I want to deal with, stereotypes.

What stereotype? The fantasy one of course. To be more specific, the young hero that is taught by a wise old man before said old man leaves/dies so young hero can fulfill his fate/destiny/prophecy as a hero.

Where to about Kvothe, the young hero of Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I like Pat and his book, so I'll pick on him to start with. We see Kvothe as a young boy with a "wise old man," Abenthy, acting as his tutor. Ben teaches Kvothe, Ben leaves, Kvothe grows to be a hero. That's the stereotype right? How about we see where everyone measures up:

Name of the Wind
Young Hero - Kvothe
Wise Old Man - Abenthy (aka Ben)
Fate of Old Man - Leaves the troupe to resume living his own life
Fate of Hero - To be determined

Star Wars
Young Hero - Luke Skywalker
Wise Old Man - Obi-Wan Kenobi (aka Ben)
Fate of Old Man - Dies while fighting Luke's father, Darth Vader
Fate of Hero - Saves the galaxy from the evil clutches of the Empire

Wheel of Time
Young Hero - Rand al'Thor
Wise Old Man - Thom Merrilan or al'Lan Mandragoran
Fate of Old Man - I don't know, I haven't finished the series yet
Fate of Hero - I don't know, I haven't finished the series yet

Harry Potter
Young Hero - Harry Potter
Wise Old Man - Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
Fate of Old Man - He dies in one book, but I still haven't read the last one to see if he comes back (shame on me, I know)
Fate of Hero - Yes, that's right, I haven't read the last book yet - just don't spoil it for me please

Feel free to chime in with your own - or to correct my errors.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Writing Contracts

Some wishful thinking here, I know, but I began wondering today about contracts for authors. I read a short story by a friend and saw the site had a contract that they essentially copied from Which prompted this post.

So, what is in a contract? SWFA's simple web contract appears to be just that, simple. Their paperback contract by comparison is much more complex. But having studied law and code, I want to know what it means. For me, my big question lies in what the first sentence means.
AGREEMENT dated this day of [DATE] in which we, the publisher, [NAME], agree
with you, the author, [NAME}, that you grant us the nonexclusive right to
publish your work entitled [TITLE] on our World Wide Web site.

Specifically, the part about "nonexclusive rights to publish." So in an attempt to decipher the legal code, here's what I found.

- A great definition of Exclusive vs. Nonexclusive Rights.
- A listing of Types of Rights Commonly Sold by Freelancers.
- Some very old but interesting reading (for those of us in the tax industry) about Authors and the Internal Revenue Code.

For those of you readers who have actually published, feel free to chime in on your experiences (good or bad).

Monday, February 25, 2008

The new TV

So, this weekend's excitement was the new TV's arrival. Dad agreed to purchase it for us on a short term loan. Once the refund arrives, it'll get kicked over to Dad.

And since he was nice enough to help transport the I guess we'll have to let him watch it.

Anyway, here's the "old"setup.

And here's the "new" setup.

* Apologies for the poor photos. The first is Elizabeth's and the second is from my phone. But hey, I did the best I could. Both entertainment centers are roughly the same size. It's just the TV that's changed.

** Paul, the Wii is awesome on here. Played Order of the Phoenix last night and it was almost like being inside the movie. I think if I can get an HDMI cable for it, it might even be better.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The latest photo of Elizabeth

We had a fun morning coloring and putting stickers in her sticker book and playing checkers (she was pretty good for her age). It sure beat all the excitement I missed from the night before. Yes, last night was apparently so exciting at home, the cops came. Me? I was at work completely oblivious to it all. Short story is a couple came to the house needing the phone, guy left, girl came inside, cops come for a statement, yeah. Lots of fun.

But, everyone is safe and sound, Yvonne was pretty smart through it all, and I'm glad for both. But enough of that. Here's "Bizzy" being busy playing games on the computer.

Assassin's Apprentice

Finally finished. You can read my review via my Reading Log. It was good enough to keep me reading and I'm willing to keep with the series for now.

Up next, True Colors, the latest Republic Commando book.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Some choice search results

Amazing what people search for online. Even more amazing that they found my blog.
  • les stroud hairy chest
  • kvothe was raped
  • blogspot nudist hairymen
There were also countless, countless searches on variations of "how much money does an author make," "hairy men," "lasik," and "pella storm doors."

For everyone that found my blog, I'm so glad I could be of service.

PS - that was just the last month.


I hate snow, ice, and cold. Maybe hate is a too-strong word, but I certainly have an extreme dislike of winter weather. It looks all nice and pretty, like sugar coated pine trees in a Courier and Ives print, but I'll be damned if I want to spend enough time in it to catch a chill, freeze my ninny-who-whos off, and try to drive with the insane people in it.

So I sit here at -edited- and watch the temperature hover at the freezing point with rain and ice and snow and sleet knocking on my door as I ponder my commute tomorrow afternoon and my intent to finally purchase the TV stand and TV Saturday.

If I'm lucky, I'll either make it to -edited-. But knowing how I trend toward attracting bad luck, it will likely be a sketchy drive to and from -edited- on to make up for those missing and a dash of no TV. Damn. I knew I should have checked the bank account before making that purchase....

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Farseer Update

So I've progressed nicely in Assassin's Apprentice. Not as fast as I'd like, but considering the serious increase in my workload, my free time is much smaller.

Anyway, I've gotten far enough I should be able to start my next book soon and still be able to finish Fitz's story. I'm interested enough to buy the next book about Fitz, but I'm not sure how much I'll go beyond this particular trilogy. It's not that I don't like it, I do. I'm just not sure there's enough of a hook to keep me reading. Guess we'll see.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Norwegian Family Photos

Since I'm at a loss of what to write today, I'll be plugging my other blog, Unidentified Family Objects. If you are not familiar with it, it's essentially a place where I post photos of family heirlooms. Some of them I'm able to research and discover more information about them, others I'm not. There's also a fair bit of creative writing in some parts, so enjoy my dry wit if you can.

Today, well, yesterday really, I started a very long "special theme" of old photos I found in an old album. As you'll learn quickly, I know very little about the people in the photos. Anyway, enough blathering, enjoy the old photos if you're into that kind of thing.

Here's the first photo to entice you.....

Monday, February 18, 2008


As you can see in the first photo, William's cheeks have cleared up nicely. In the second photo, you'll see he likes to stare out the window instead of napping.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Drow Child

Ever see pictures of one? We know they are evil as are all Dark Elves, but this little brochure tells you how to prevent them. What water has to do with the process, I'm not sure.

Yes, this is from a real Bumbo seat. No it has not been edited (other than that red box to get your attention). We have one for William, but other than giving a comfy seat to sit in, there's no way of keeping him there. He's such a Houdini at the moment and is days/weeks from crawling.

Weekenday Update

So yesterday was one of those rare days when you go to every store you want and accomplish nearly everything on your list. Wow. I'm pooped.

After the early morning wake-up from William, we headed out the door to do the following:

- buy water
- stop at the old pediatrician to pay for copies of paperwork to send to the new pediatrician
- meet Dad at BJ's to buy formula and get TV measurements
- stop at Good Wood Furniture to shop for entertainment center and shelves, buy entertainment center, get measurements on shelves to purchase later
- I shop at Costco (for gum and Pledge) while Yvonne shops at Belk (for makeup)
- lunch at Quiznos (our usual minus Elizabeth's order)
- I shop at Borders (bought I Am Legend and the 25th Anniversary of Thriller album) while Yvonne shops at Target (to return William's shoes)
- stop at Lowe's to buy new kitchen faucet (old one leaked)
- I shop at Best Buy (didn't find anything) while Yvonne shops at Kohls (new sunglasses and holiday socks)
- then Wal-Mart to get groceries

After all that, we made it home for dinner time and I even had time to replace the kitchen faucet (I like the new one a lot).

But the best part of all this? The trip to the Good Wood store. While we were looking at the bookshelves (we are such bibliophiles, it isn't even funny) the store employee guy was waiting behind us while we talked to each other about the design and measurements. So here's the little story of the day:

I hear her ask the guy "Is he wearing a gun?"
"I think so ma'am" he said.
So I turn around and the lady says to me "Are you a private citizen?"
"Yes ma'am" I replied.
"And you're allowed to carry a gun?" she asked pointing a gnarled finger in the general direction of my gun.
"Yes, Virginia has an open-carry law" I said. "But I also have a concealed weapons permit" I added with a smile on my face.
With a look of shock she muttered "Oh" under her breath a bit.
Yvonne and I returned to the counter at the front with the store employee to pay for the entertainment center. While he was writing things up he said "I'd like to apologize for that lady back there."
I kind of chuckled and said not to worry about it.

I didn't know what was funnier, the lady's reaction or the man's apology. Anyway, that's it from here. Entertainment center has been secured for pick-up next week. TV will be purchased after the refund arrives (which will be after the return is filed).

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sailors take warn

There was a red sky this morn:

And Elizabeth will be leaving with Grammy and Bapa Dave this morning. I hope they all have a fun time at Aunt Monica's!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

History in HD

Shorpy, from the creators of Plan 59, turns a year old today. This is one of those sites that is both entertaining and educational. And the scans are amazing, especially those Kodak photos where the colors literally pop.

Anyway, the only other comment I can think of about today is the amazing chance that we might get something positive out of our President. Money. Maybe he'll actually end his term on a positive note. Well, in addition to him leaving being positive.

Rogue Jedi on the loose

That's right folks, our very own Fredericksburg, VA has a Jedi on the loose. And he's not afraid of showing off his lightsaber skills on the rooftops in the city.

You can read the article here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My caucus is bigger than yours-edited-

Stealing a line from Erik Scott de Bie, I did some quick math this morning using the newspaper's election results and was pleasantly surprised to see the Democrats had roughly 400 more people voting on the blue side. Our county is usually Republican when it comes to voting and I wouldn't be surprised if McCain carries the state (or at least the immediate area) when it comes to the big election in November.


And finally, let's all bow our heads in respect for those fans who put time into bringing Jericho back. Thank you. We bow in your almighty presence. Last night's show was great.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

No Gym Today

I wanted to, but wanted to relax a bit at work. Seems like a rash of illness is going around work and that means those well enough to make it, get to pick up the extra slack. And it's tax season. Not a good combination.

But, if it makes me (or you) feel any better, I was inspired enough to write some of my story. Nothing fancy, clearly a rough draft, but it actually follows my outline, which is something new for me. Both the outline and following it. So, we'll see how it turns out. I'm looking to keep it a short story and non-fantasy. More crime or suspense. A bit odd, but the idea came and well, I have to get it out now before I crowd out everything else I need to keep in there.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Reading progress

With the end of the writer's trike looming, I fear I'll fall into my old TV habits. Curse you writers! You should demand more money!

This weekend I finished Triple Zero and Harry Potter IV. I'm hoping to start Potter V tomorrow but will wait a bit before I start another book (likely True Colors, another Republic Commando book). I'd like to concentrate on Assassin's Apprentice to get a better scope of the story, plot, characters, etc. before moving on.

And with that, I leave you for lunch.

3:10 to Yuma

So after a long day at work and before a long night trying to sleep, I rewarded myself with a Pay Per View movie (we have a bunch of coupons, so it was free). I never knew it was a remake, but shouldn't have been surprised. What I really enjoyed though was not the two main characters. They were pretty easy to read and very predictable.

Instead, I fell in love with Ben Foster's character. He literally exuded evil. He was awesome. Great. Brilliant. He was even in one of the greatest shows ever to be cancelled, Freaks and Geeks.

The rest of the movie? So-so. I'm glad it was free, but would have spent the $3.99 to watch it if I had to. Wouldn't pay for the DVD though.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Insert humorous title here-edited-

Ever have one of those days? Well, I think I'm having one today.

Things started out decent at home. Everyone seemed to be up earlier than normal, so we all got out the door earlier than normal. Cool. No problem. Harry Potter sees Cedric die after taking the Goblet of Fire as portkey to the graveyard. Sad, but exciting to listen to. Little to no traffic on the way. Even better. Things are looking borderline awesome. Had a nice mocha java thingy with breakfast. Wow. I must be King.

And then the King gets dumped on. I can only think of Kelly in her shower thinking the same thing because now things are swinging the other direction.


Okay. I feel better now that I've vented some hot air. Now the real question is, will I be able to motivate myself to go to the gym in 3 minutes.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mimi and Fitz watching TV-edited-

-edited-With that out of my head (-edited-), here's the latest thing on our shopping list.

Not necessarily an entertainment center or TV just like this, but you get the idea. First the table, then the TV. We'll keep you posted. Thank God Jericho is coming back soon!

Finally, I'm almost 100 pages into Assassin's Apprentice and, while not supremely impressed, I am enjoying it. It's a bit simple so far (meaning it doesn't require a lot of thought to read it), but I'm intrigued enough to keep reading.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Naughty Neil

No, that's not my porn name, I just feel like I've been a bad boy lately. I've skipped out of the gym four days in a row (well, one if count the number of days I've actually been at work to use the gym). So today I punished myself. I ran.

Well, it was more like a wheezing, loping jog-and-walk than a run, but I tried. I felt pretty good when I finished my shower and had a semi-healthy lunch. About an hour later I stood up and nearly cried. The punishment worked. My legs are sore. Honest Gym-Rat God, I'll do my best to workout tomorrow. Please don't give me cramps. Please don't make me sore tomorrow when I wake up.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday-edited-

I feel like I'm neglecting you all. Boohoo.

So, the Giants won. Yeah. Eat shit and die Bill Belichick. You're an ass.

Elizabeth will likely be traveling with Grammy and Bapa Dave to see Aunt Monica next week. Assuming there is no blizzard. Which meant we had to draft up a guardianship paper. Which reminds me we still need to do a will. Shame on us, I know. I started one, but never finished it. Guess I'll add that to my plate of things to do.

William is looking much better again. He had a bit of a relapse with the scrappy cheeks, but is back on his meds and looking good. We'll see how he holds up after his meds are gone. He's also doing pretty good at rolling over and at getting up on his knees. He scoots backwards most of the time but has been known to rock back and forth on his knees. He's also chowing down on half a jar of baby food at breakfast and dinner. Porker.

And Yvonne is doing fine. School is school. There's always drama of some sort. Always a teacher/student/administrator/parent rubbing people the wrong way or doing something great or who knows what. The bad news is the school system seems to be out of money, which means no spending for classroom supplies.


And the van is fixed now. Dad's car is in the shop taking its turn at repairs.

And I'm seriously looking at the big screen TVs now. We should get a nice refund and it's already burning a hole in my pocket. We still need to do some shopping first, but things are looking good. And big.

-edited- Yippee! I skipped the gym today to read some more of Triple Zero. I'm right at that part in the middle where things get interesting. Keeping the troopers straight is insanely difficult but I'm managing. I also started Assassin's Apprentice this weekend. So far, it's keeping me interested. I'll keep you posted on that one.

5 minutes. The UFO blog took a hit in the crotch over the weekend. Everything should work out, but man, I hate it when people act stupid.

And with 2 minutes, I'm quitting. Don't want to be late for dinner!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Handy Kid

Saturday morning at Home Depot.