Take a Look…It’s in a Book…

(Remember Reading Rainbow? I loved that show. I was really, really confused when the guy from Reading Rainbow turned up on Star Trek: The Next Generation. LeVar Burton’s terrific.)

That’s sort of what I wanted to chatter about today: reading. Remember that thing? We used to do it quite a lot as kids. Well anyway, I did. I always had a book on me. There were always books, and they weren’t usually kids books, because I had no interest in them. I used to be a much faster reader than I am now (although I’m still pretty fast, and I pride myself on that). I used to manage to finish reading a book every day. Of course, it’s easier when you’re a kid and you’re more or less made of energy and you don’t have a job, bills, or children of your own.

Or writing.

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Conversations; Coffee, Tea or Strawberries?

Pete: Strawberry Slender Per-Urh tea. Edy’s Real Strawberry ice cream (the whole container; I couldn’t be bothered to find a bowl)

Man. Sometimes, it’s not bad being sick. Especially being a sick adult with no one to yell at me for eating ice cream from the tub and drinking tea and reading a web-comic until I feel human enough to go write. 🙂

Kristine: Mmmm, strawberries! I had some strawberries just the other day, frozen organic ones. I’ve never tried that tea, though. But an entire tub of ice cream must surely be the cure to any cold !

Pete: It’s a delicious tea that I get through Teavana now and again. Good stuff. I always get a bunch of ounces of it, and they never last as long as I’d like them to. I like Pur-Erh’s anyway (I want to try more) but this is a staple of my tea…um….wall. (I just realized my tea cupboard now encompasses two cupboards and that’s most of that wall of the kitchen, and that’s not even including

the tea mugs…)

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Breaking News: Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008)

I wish it were happier breaking news.

Arthur C. Clarke passed away today, at the age of 90, in his home in Sri Lanka.

(as I write this, I don’t see any indication of what he died of. Old age, perhaps? edit: he died of breathing problems, it seems)

It’s the end of an era. As the above article points out, he was the last of the Big Three SF writers (Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein) still with us.

Addendum: From December 2007, here is Arthur Clarke.

Addendum 2: From Yahoo, a better story with more coverage.

Conversations: Declaration of Topic!

Kristine: http://www.myextralife.com/archive.php?date=2008-01-14 I’ve just wet myself !

Pete: Affirmation of humor involved! Compliment!

Kristine: Acknowledgement of shared experience! Representation of laughter!

What is this, you say? What is this pathetically short post, with a joke referencing something that — having concluded more than two weeks ago — is now ancient history? Well, this is what you get when it’s Pete’s turn to pick and post a conversation (I do Mondays, remember?) and he is dealing with a sick kitty, a sick baby, a sick Pete, time zone changes, and recovering from an exhausting two-week car trip across country.

So! What do YOU want to talk about today? Triffids?

Conversations: Celebrating the Literary Arts

LORI: (Should we tell him that it’s the genre writers who get recognition while they’re still alive and literary writers whose genius isn’t discovered until after they’re dead? He probably better start calling Nondescript ‘Mainstream.’)

PETE: “Literary” writers — the sort who turn up in the Guardian Books section with Quite Right Indignant opinions About The State of Free Verse Poetry About T.S. Eliot and the Iraq War — give me the heebie jeebies, and then they give me a rash. Maybe in the second draft, I’ll magically insert an Elf-Lord into the book, just to get me away from it.

Anyway, my NEXT book is pure fluff. It’s a big cookie. Pure sci-fi. That should keep me safely a hack. You can both continue to e-mail me. 😀

KRISTINE: I wonder what his agent will think?  He’ll be at one of the big book signings in New York, where they serve bottled water and espressos to the patrons who’ll sit for a reading, then send their assistants out with Fluffy to piss on the sidewalk while they make sure to be seen next to the Author during the photo ops. His agent will be asked what his next brilliant project is going to be, and he’ll turn to Pete, eyebrow raised, and Pete will say “Oh, it’s fantastic! There’s Elf Lords, space ships, and stuff blows up in every chapter!  I call it “My Career: Things That Go Boom” 😀

PETE: Hah! Yes! Sounds perfect! ….What the hell am I going to drink at a high-falutin’ New York signing full of espressos? I hope someone can give me a cup of SOME kind of tea. And if it’s Lipton, I am LEAVING in a huff!

I mean think about it. It has to suck if you’re just a literary author. You don’t get to go to any conventions like ComicCon, or ICon or DragonCon, or WorldCon or AAANY of those, because nobody there is going to sit and ask you inane detailed questions about the technical workings of your……World  War II coming-of-age story (that’s what it is, isn’t it? Oh man.)

You paint scary pictures, Kristine… 🙂

KRISTINE: Liptons? Heavens no, they’ll have a special commissioned blend of tea leaves plucked by monks and rolled by virgins. They’ll use distilled water to boil, so you’ll never actually get to drink it because distilled water does not boil. But the tin, which holds .5 ounces and cost more than your advance will be very attractive and impress everyone who sees it.

PETE: ….can’t I just throw some cheap shit in a bubbling pot and pour it into a chipped coffee mug, please?

(It amuses me no end, your descriptions of the “literary” world. It’s like the book world, channeled through Sex in the City, and mixed with allllll those STUPID agents and authors and publishers you see in movies and TV shows.)

LORI: There are other cons, Pete, where literary authors would be more at home.

PETE: Probably. But would there be comic books, action figures, and people dressed  as peculiar belly dancer versions of Boba Fett? (First time I typed that, I typed “Baba Yaga” by mistake, because I was reading about her this morning. SO maybe there’s a belly dancer version of Baba Yaga. Shuddddder.)

KRISTINE: I think there are “gatherings” where people eat cheeses and grapes and have debates about what the author “really meant” and other metaphors.

PETE: “Where IS the author anyway, Chaffon?”

“Oh, Enrique, he’s in the kitchen.”

“With the cheese platter and the chardonnay, Jean-Paul?”

“No, he’s hiding underneath the pantry shelves and he throws Asimov books at anyone who comes near him. Whatever an ASIMOV is. *sniff*. I should have gone to the Christian Fashion Show instead.”

KRISTINE: Chaffon: Oh my Great Good Lord! Who let that homeless man in here?

Jean-Paul: Chaffon, my pet, that’s not a homeless man. That’s Pete Tzinski, the author.

Chaffon: But he’s – – he’s, *un*washed!

Jean-Paul: Yes. He’s deliciously insane, isn’t he?  I think it lends a sort of–oh, what’s the term they use on that MTV? Street thread, wheat cred, something.

Conversations: The Tenth Dimension, Marine Biology and Bolognium

Pete: Have I shown you two this video? http://youtube.com/watch?v=qU1fixMAObI I adore it. I don’t understand it entirely, but I love having it in my brain, trying to puzzle it out. I have another video that I’ll send in a moment, soon as I find it…

Lori: One of us shared this with the other a long time ago, Pete. I can’t remember which of us it originated with. It looks like something I could’ve received from half a dozen different people, including you.

Pete: I know I’ve had it for months and months and months now. I’m sure I sent it around. Sigh.I was ACTUALLY trying to find an interesting video I watched on the practical theory of time travel and its repercussions, but it seems to have gone away from YouTube. Which is a shame. One of the best things about YouTube is the ability to watch science and biology videos on anything I want. For example, what could be more beautiful than this? http://youtube.com/watch?v=YsnubgtLOCA

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Hello, friends.

We have no pre-prepared conversation starter ready for you today. It’s not that we don’t have one in our files — we have lots of those and are continually adding to them — all of the conversations we have posted have been real, actual conversations that Pete, Kristine, and/or I have had — but today seems like a good time to ask you a few questions and see what you want to talk about.

So, what do you think of the new format?

What do you want to discuss today? Fake memoirs? Jack the Ripper? Space? Literature? The ocean? The best diapers to use on an infant?

The floor is opened. Don’t be afraid to step up and type your mind.