Archive for May, 2009

Shine on, you crazy muppet

Word count: 4179 | Since last entry: 1623

Finished up the first draft of my story for the Shine anthology in a burst of 1000+ words, and sent it to my critique group. Stories always go quicker for me at the end, when I’ve built the world, established the character’s voice, and set up all the plot bits to set up the ending. In this case, though, I got to the climax and realized it didn’t match up with the character’s situation at the beginning of the story, so I went back and changed the beginning to set up the end I’d come to. That’s the nice thing about fiction, as opposed to real life. I’m not 100% satisfied with the story as it stands, but that’s what critique is for.

Yesterday we went to the art museum for an exhibit centered on a new Ganesh stele they just acquired, which was quite nice although the exhibit was smaller than I’d anticipated (only about a dozen pieces). As we walked in, we noticed that the two large stone bowls in front of the museum’s Mark Building (a former Masonic temple) were spewing flame, which they don’t normally do, and we guessed that a movie or TV show was using the museum as a location. But when we came out, we found ourselves in the middle of a colorful parade of academics. We eventually determined that the parade was part of the ceremony of installation, or investiture, or some such, for the new president of Portland State University.

The parade was led by a drum corps, followed by the Royal Rosarians, followed by a hundred or so people wearing doctoral gowns. These are a lot more interesting than the usual black graduation gowns, as each institution and department that grants doctoral degrees has its own special gown and hood, and sometimes hat, and the tradition is that on ceremonial academic occasions each person with a doctorate wears the outfit of the institution where they obtained it. (I believe they are usually rented rather than owned… the job of stocking and renting out the appropriate academic garb for hundreds or thousands of colleges must be daunting.) Some of them are quite flamboyant and colorful.

We went back to the art museum today, for a presentation of rare footage of the Muppets (including the original pilot for The Muppet Show, titled Sex and Violence and featuring the Swedish Chef subtitled in Chinese). Original Muppeteer Dave Goelz (Gonzo) was scheduled to present it, but unfortunately was unable to appear. We still laughed harder than I can recall doing in a long time. One of the highlights was a string of ten or twenty of the thirty-second “this week on the Muppet Show” commercials, each of which was a delightful dollop of concentrated goofiness despite the fact that it was so brief and held to such a strict formula. We’ll be back again tomorrow, for another Muppet show entitled “Commercials and Experiments.”

More Wild Cards news

Word count: 2556 | Since last entry: 555

Here’s the squee-worthy detail I couldn’t reveal before: I have been selected to write one of three new stories in a hardcover reissue of Wild Cards Volume One! It’s kind of like a Director’s Cut with additional bonus tracks… we’re trying to create stories that feel as though they were left out in the first place. It’s quite a challenge, but also an amazing honor — like getting to write a new episode of the original Star Trek, then getting it filmed (somehow) with the young Shatner and Nimoy and then seeing it broadcast right along with the classic episodes.

George R. R. Martin has more details over at his blog.