Do or Do Not.

Archive for November, 2005

No more “pretty stewardesses?” Damn.

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Up on Flickr you can now find a photoset detailing the changes between the 1963 and 1991 editions of Richard Scarry’s The Best Word Book Ever. I’m not particularly surprised by any of the changes that were made, nor am I particularly bothered; in general, they’re exactly the kinds of alterations I would have expected given both the greater emphasis on gender equality and the tendency toward political correctness that developed in our society in the 28 years between editions. Fascinating stuff. Well, to me, anyway.

I have to say it was nice to see the Chanukah reference added to the holidays page–especially given the awkwardly large bit of white space it filled up, which sure made it seem like it had been taken out of the original version. Given the bullshiterrific “Happy Holidays” vs. “Merry Christmas” furor going on in the media the last few weeks, I’m glad for any acknowledgement (even it was from 14 years ago) that Christmas isn’t the only spiritual and cultural holiday occuring in December.

Written by Allen

November 30th, 2005 at 6:23 pm

Posted in Pop Culture

Yet even more birthday wishes…

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A slightly belated birthday shout-out to my boy Walter, whose birthday was actually Saturday–I just didn’t get on the computer much this weekend to type up my message to him. Mea culpa, bro.

Not only is Walter a helluva guy, a good sport and a fantastic dad [1], he’s been one of my bigger supporters over the last few years [2]–he’s consistently encouraged me to pursue my comic-book-makin’ dreams, going so far as to berate and belittle me for not using my so-called “talents” to the best of my abilities. I don’t know if I’ve ever said thank you for your admonitions, so: thanks, man. Seriously. I hope your birthday/Thanksgiving weekend rocked mightily!

[1] Not my dad, of course; he’s got two completely adorable daughters of his own. [2] No, Walt, that was not a fat joke.

Written by Allen

November 28th, 2005 at 3:53 pm

Posted in General

Progress…at a price

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An article on Wired‘s website posits the theory that five-buck-a-gallon gas is good for all of us in the long run. The part of me that doesn’t have much in the way of money these days wants to disagree–falling gas prices have knocked about $60 a month off of my gas expenditures (thanks, 30-mile commute!). But I think the author’s probably right when he says that ridiculously hight gas prices are what’s going to allow us to get to the new energy technologies waiting for us in our future.

It looks like the oil companies might agree, given how far and how quickly prices have fallen. Big Oil would rather maintain their longtime stranglehold on our energy consumption rather than let record profits in the short term lead to a move away from oil (though, of course, I’m sure they really enjoyed those record profits while they could get ‘em). I’ve actually long thought that the only way we’d see serious progress on alternative fuel technologies would be when the oil companies could figure out how best they could profit from those advancements.

I think I’m going to take one line from the article and add it to my email sig: “It’s not written in stone that humanity has to propel itself with petroleum alone.”

Written by Allen

November 23rd, 2005 at 11:32 am

Posted in Politics,Technology

Monday Photo: Injury

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As some of you might have heard, Terry busted her knee up pretty good about a week-and-a-half ago. She sprained the medial collateral ligament in her right knee; it’s not a serious injury (inasmuch as any knee injury can be considered “not serious”) and should hopefully heal up pretty soon. But for the time being, she’s having to get around on crutches as much as she can.

You can likely imagine that chasing a feisty three-and-a-half-year-old and an even feistier not-quite-two-year-old isn’t easy on crutches.

Luckily for Terry, the girls aren’t quite old enough to have realized what a strategic advantage they have over her while she’s in this condition.

Get well soon, my love!

Written by Allen

November 14th, 2005 at 9:45 pm

Posted in Photography

Coming Into Focus

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It was never my dream to be a novelist.

I think that it’s pretty obvious at this point to anyone who’s paid a shred of attention to my progress bar on the side of the page that my heart’s not in writing the novel I was (am?) working on. The bar hasn’t budged in two months. For a while, that fact was bothering me; yesterday, I stopped letting it.

Writing a novel has always been on my “something I’d like to do someday” list. But, as I said, it’s never really been my dream. When I think of my life as a writer in the not-too-distant future, I don’t honestly see myself writing novels (or not predominantly, anyway). I’d say that writing novels doesn’t feel like the way I’m going to get my writing goals met–except that the fact is I haven’t had any firm writing goals.

The novel gave me something to do. I’d had a story idea rattling around in my head for a year or more, and that seemed like a good way to start working out the details of that particular story. What I worked out more than anything else, as noted in this space previously, was that I don’t do the dive-in-without-planning thing very well. And while I do have an overall much more clear idea of the story and where it’s going, I’m not sure that story’s future is in novel form.

Tips What Spoke to Me.

What, you might ask, spurred this particular bit of self-examination? Well, I rediscovered a link yesterday to a site from which I’ve gotten one of the previous sidebar quotes for Do or Do Not. Hugh MacLeod, author of Gaping Void, writes an awful lot about creativity–how to be more creative, how to succeed at whatever your creative vision might be, how to follow your own instincts and tell everyone else to piss off, how to get through the inevitable down times. I’d read Hugh’s article several months ago, early in the infancy of this site, and it helped me restructure some things in my head; unfortunately, over time I seem to have lost all of the valuable insights I’d gained from the article.

But when I re-read it yesterday, it helped bring into focus how out-of-focus my creative energies have been recently.

I haven’t had a lot of time for writing overall lately, between a hectic work schedule, time spent with family and having some semblance of a social life, and what little time I have had I haven’t been putting to good use. Some of the stuff I’ve written for this site has been worthwhile, or at the very least fun to write, but overall I just haven’t been very productive. But as I was thinking about these issues and thinking about some of the issues raised in MacLeod’s article, I realized that even when I had been getting the words out, most of them weren’t in service to the things I’ve always really wanted to do. I think I was writing a novel because it seemed more like the kind of thing I should be doing rather than what I know in my heart I really want to be doing. I was writing just to say I was writing.

So I think that from now on (or, well, for the near future), I’m going to work on those things that will get me closer to my actual goal: writing comic books. I’m going to work on developing my craft, regardless of whether I think the projects I’m using to develop that craft are going to sell–I’ve got plenty of shitty stories to work through before I get to the good ones, so I might as well get those out of the way now. I’m going to work on things for me, not on things I think the world expects from me; when I’m ready, when the work is ready, the world will know it.

Thanks, Hugh.

Written by Allen

November 7th, 2005 at 6:06 pm

Posted in Writing

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