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31 March 2003
Even Better

Much as I am loving Hobb's writing, I am far more excited to be reading another work at the same time. And I am exceedingly lucky, too, as I am the first to read it, and will be one of very few to read it at all until it's published.

What might this mysterious work be, you ask? 'Tis the first volume of my wife's new work--her first trilogy. You can find out a bit more information about it over on her
blog. I'm nearly done with Part One of the first volume (she's gearing up to begin writing Volume Two now), and am so far enjoying it muchly. Of course, what's not to enjoy? Adventure, humour, intrigue, and wonderful characters. And, of course, an original narratorial voice, both serious and parodic (personally, I think that should be parodial, but I bow to the dictionary), as the story demands. Yeah, she's got me hooked.

Sure, I am her husband, so the temptation is there to claim everything she writes is grand. But that's not fair--not to her or her work. As a writer myself, I think it's easier to honestly question her words, and not just praise her to make her feel good--because I certainly wouldn't want her doing that for me. As it turns out, I can praise her because the story is just that good.

And of course, let us not forget one of the best parts--I get to read it now, whilst the rest of you have to wait for publication.

But I certainly don't want to rub it in. So I'll just say this: Ha!
Jelly Pinched Wolf   4:24 PM
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28 March 2003
Of assassins and stableboys

On recommendation from a friend here at work, I picked up Assassin's Apprentice by
Robin Hobb. It's the first book in her first trilogy, The Farseer. Though my wife has yet to lead me astray by recommending a book (she does has wonderful taste, after all), I'm usually wary of what other people recommend. Mostly because my tastes are, well, odd. To say the least. And though Hobb's works certainly sounded interesting, I was nonetheless skeptical. Especially since I've got a long list of books to read now that the novel's done, and it would rather suck to put this one above them only to find out it was not to my liking.

But I took that chance. And it was well worth it. I'm about two-thirds in, and already cannot wait for the next book. And now that I know she's returned to these characters for her third trilogy, I'm even more pleased.

I've heard my wife complain oft enough about the sad state of the fantasy genre, so it's a relief to have found an author who not only works well within the genre, but also tells a good tale, and tells it well. Hobb's language is amazing. She manages to drag you by the nose through her world without you once realising how well she's manipulating you. Her characters, at first, can be easily fit into their appropriate archetypes. As the story unfolds, though, she starts revealing, subtly, more and more layers, creating depth where you wouldn't expect it. Her narration (first person, which I usually abhor, but here find myself loving) is unobtrusive, and quite deftly delivered. And her attention to detail in description truly brings her world to life, without seeming like an exercise in a creative writing class.

All of this is to say, if you've not encountered her works, seek them out. She does not disappoint.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   4:19 PM
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Hackers of the world unite!

Jonah posted
this on The Corner, and I just had to share.

Who says we can't all make contributions to this war?
Jelly Pinched Wolf   3:54 PM
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27 March 2003
Speaking of worms

Ah, blind spots. You gotta love 'em. Here I was, thinking that by adding the comments feature I'd be inviting people to agree with my wise words and offer up their praise and never once question what I might say. I mean, who wouldn't want to bask in the wisdom of the Jelly-Pinched Wolf? ::sarcasm meter pegs::

Silly me. Of course I should've expected challenges to my assertions. Darn. Now I'm going to have to actually take the time to defend myself. Oh, well. Should be fun. 'Sides, I've never made any claims to being right. Just opinionated. And if it happens that I believe my opinions to be in the right, well then, I guess that must be coincidence. But I have been known to prattle on, and have never made any true claims to wisdom here. I may babble, and I don't always pay complete attention to what I say. After all, it's not like I'm writing a formal defense here. If I'm wrong, or don't explain myself properly, I'll admit it and try to correct it. But if I say what I mean, and believe it, I'm prepared to defend it to the last, whether you're willing to actually read my words, or add your own as you go along.

So, bring it on, I say! In the words of Jack Burton, "I can take it."

But if you are going to challenge me, at least be so kind as to put your comments on the post you're actually referring to. I like to keep things tidy 'round here.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   4:06 PM
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26 March 2003

Gotta admit, though the job itself is very lame, and I still cannot wait to be writing full time, the atmosphere of this place is comforting. I can always be certain that if there is political talk going on, it will not be of the anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-American variety. Is it because this is a shipping and trucking company? Is it because we're in Texas? Maybe a bit of both? Not sure, but whatever the reason, I like it.

Still, most of what one hears here is in the way of general, surface issues. Things rarely get too deep. I long to be able to enter into actual discourse on the issues, but it's just not going to happen. Not here. I suppose that's for the best. Even if most people will agree with your position, the workplace isn't the best arena for a serious discussion of such things. Though it is hard to resist when someone floats the idea that Catholics worship the Pope as God. I realise I'm not exactly fluent in the ways of the Catholic theology, but I'm fairly confident that's a bunch of horse pucky, and a prime example of the inability of other Christians to understand the intricacies of the Roman Catholic faith. Yet even with my limited knowledge of such things, it's quite tempting to just dive in there and sock it out intellectually with these people.

Alas, that's not a bag o' gummy worms I'm willing to rip open.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   11:05 AM
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25 March 2003

So, I've finally broken down and added comments, as you can see. I'll be tweaking the template and such as time goes on, but at least it's working now. Alas, adding the comments has completely messed with the blog template. If you're using Netscape, I'm sorry. Netscape and the javascript are not getting along at all. I'm working on removing a lot of the extraneous code from the original template in hopes of fixing it, but we'll see. In the meantime, if you're using IE, it should look fine. Otherwise, the text might just look funny here and there.

Hopefully all this frustration will not be for naught, and the comments feature will actually get used.

Since I'm planning on updating far more often these days, mayhap that'll help....
Jelly Pinched Wolf   9:36 AM
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24 March 2003

to include Moore's final statement in the post below:

"And any time you got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up. "

There also seems to be a discrepancy, depending on the source, as to whether he uses the word "fiction" or "fictition."

As for that last statement, though, I have two thoughts (besides the atrocious grammar, that is). First, it's far more complex than to say the Pope is against Bush. Again, schoolyard antics. ("Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!") Also, since when did the Dixie Chicks attain such a status of intellectual respect that they deserve to be put up there on equal level with JP II? Sorry, but ditzes of the Sheryl Crow variety are not coming at this issue (ie: the war) from the same angle, not to mention background, intellect, and above all, authority, as the Pope.

Yet more reasons to ignore Moore and hope he goes away.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   4:22 PM
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... do I still bother watching the Oscars?

Okay, admittedly, one of my main reasons this year was to see which idiot stars decided to bash the war in their acceptance speeches. Yet even in that, I was disappointed. Except for one.

You guessed it--Michael Moore.

What happened to this guy? Or was I just blind in my youth? Once upon a time, I seem to remember having enjoyed his schtick. I've many a fond memory of TV Nation. He was irreverent. He dug under the skin of issues and shook things up. Or was I just in a haze of silliness? Because for a while now, I've been wondering just how far off the deep end the man's gone. A while back, a local radio station here in Dallas had him on for an interview. I can't remember if it was before or after 9/11, but he was ranting like a bloody lunatic. I mean, he was drawing conclusions that made no logical sense. Some of the wackier JFK conspiracy theories are more grounded in reason than Moore's words.

And raving lunacy he doth continue to spout. In an otherwise boring and pointless ceremony, Moore took the opportunity of his win for "Bowling for Columbine" to claim the following:

We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elect a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man who's sending us to war for fictitious reasons, whether it's the fiction of duct tape or the fiction of orange alerts. We are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush. Shame on you.

'Twas nice to hear some loud boos from the audience, but to be honest, I think utter silence would've served better. No applause, no boos. It was a childish tactic, speaking childish views. It deserved nothing. We have men and women over there, and likely a number of them had a chance to take in the Oscars (though I hope they didn't waste their time). No matter your position on the war, our soldiers deserve the support of every one of us. Comments like Moore's only serve to crush their morale, which can only put them further in harm's way. Even if you hate the reasons they are there, they deserve encouragement of some sort (even if it's to "return home soon") because they are there so that people like Moore can continue to be overweight and scruffy and not have to go to war. They're there so I can sit here in my lame job typing this up when I should be working. They're there so all of Hollywood can continue to make entertainment and think they're somehow changing the world with it.

I am a huge film buff. I love movies, and I recognise that one can be deeply affected by a film. But you know what? It ain't life, people. It's a movie, and, in the end, little more than entertainment. It's soldiers and teachers and priests and the like who change people, who change the world. Not actors. Yet watching the Oscars, you can't help but feel they think themselves the highest creature to walk the earth. Not all, to be sure. There are enough humble actors out there. But the point of the Oscars is backslapping self-congratulatory moronity, and will never be more. Which is not to say it's completely pointless. I think movies do deserve awards. Some are darn fine tales--well told, well executed. I was thrilled that Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) won best animated feature. And I will root for Lord of the Rings every chance I get. But the atmosphere and presentation of the awards show in general is sad, pathetic, and hollow.

Which, I guess, brings us back to Moore. I haven't seen "Bowling for Columbine." Nor do I have any desire whatever to do so. The gun debate's a pretty complicated one that I really don't want to get involved in right now. Columbine was a serious tragedy, but the fact is that these kids were screwed up. If they hadn't had access to the guns, they would've found some other way to kill their school mates. It's not the guns, and anyone who thinks banning the things will solve all our problems have some issues of their own. But that's not why I bring any of this up. Moore had 45 seconds to give thanks for his award. He used it to bash the president and the war. What about the victims of Columbine? What about the issues he likely raises in his documentary--the tendency for our nation's children to go nuts and take out half their class? 45 seconds isn't much, but it's enough to say something, for crying out loud. Yet he's more concerned with being spiteful and vindictive.

Yeah, that's peaceful.

But I can't even bring myself to be angry about it. He's a sad, sad man. Is it simply because he grew up watching his hometown of Flint crumble around him? That couldn't have been easy, and likely left some deep scars. But he's so willfully blind ... it's just sad.

And that is how I sum up the Oscars--a pitiful state of affairs. At least I managed a good bit of reading while it was on.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   11:56 AM
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21 March 2003

Well, that'll teach me to try to blog, add links, mess with the template, and get some work done all at the same time. And before ten in the morning, no less.

For any who earlier tried to follow the links to Lone Dissenter, mea culpa, and gomen nasai. They are fixed now, and no weirdness should ensue.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   4:36 PM
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a new blog to the links section

I highly encourage everyone to check it out. Notes from a very right-headed high school girl that show just how scary it is out there. And here I thought the mushy thinking was reserved for the land of higher education. Who'da thunk? Nice to know there's still some independent thought in the under-twenty set.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   9:27 AM
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20 March 2003
Pro-war Hollywood

They do exist, amazingly enough. Not all actors out there are anti-war--the liberal ones just happen to be the loudest. But supporters of Bush are finally finding their own voice:

see article here

Apparently, Harrison Ford's for the war, too. This pleaseth me to no end.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   4:31 PM
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Well said!

From Bush's speech last night:

"Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly -- yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now, with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of fire fighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities."

To those out there who seem to think the attack on New York was a one-time only, never-to-be-repeated
deal, I quote Midnight Oil: "Your dreamworld will fall." That threat has never gone away, and it likely never will. But we go on, and fight evil, and remain free. It's what we do. And the more we do it, the more we will be prepared to stop the evil men of the world from reaching our soil.

This has been your daily Jelly-Pinched opinion. Thank you for your support.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   10:48 AM
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Had I

the money to order ice cream online...

Goodness, but
this is funny!
Jelly Pinched Wolf   10:39 AM
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17 March 2003

you can no doubt tell, there's been another change to the blog. In a fit of determined curiosity last night, I sought to discover how to add an image to the background (and make it look good, as well). Much trial and error, but I got it done.

Since I'm in the final phase of the novel, I figured this pic was appropriate. For those not in the know, here be Justin Theodore Reynard, Medical Examiner Extraordinaire! Thanks to me luvely wife for the perfect rendering of Mister Reynard!
Jelly Pinched Wolf   8:53 AM
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13 March 2003

There are few sounds less pleasing to the ear than that of a Texan massacring the New York accent.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   1:21 PM
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07 March 2003
Done! ...and impatient

Okay, so I'd planned on waiting until the edits were done and the last bit was typed up, but I just can't wait to make the announcement.

On lunch today, I wrote the epilogue.

The novel is written. All that remains is to edit and tinker with Chapter 33 and the epilogue, type 'em up, then let it sit for a month until I'm ready to do a read-through and final edit on the whole thing. But that's all technical. The blasted thing is written. It's done!

Jelly Pinched Wolf   3:42 PM
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Get Fuzzy is just beautiful.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   8:54 AM
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Seven years after they decided to go their separate ways, Throwing Muses is back together. They've got a new album out, and I want it badly.

**pause, whilst the jelly-pinched among us beat their heads in frustration against a hard surface**

Alas, it'll be long time before that happens. We jelly-pinched are also penny-pinched right now. 'S'okay, though. It will be mine eventually. Oh, yes. It shall be mine. And until then, there's always our friend, the mp3.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   8:43 AM
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