gearing up, getting ready

For seven years now (how has it been this long?) I've been throwing a big party every year when Tallahassee runs a parade past the front of my house.

That's us in '06, celebrating springtime and morning drinking.

I tend to do a lot of entertaining. I live in my own place (no roommates or kids to shuffle), I'm centrally located, I have a good front stoop for gathering, and it means I don't have to worry about a designated driver. But this party is something special. For one, it starts at 9 am, and there's nothing like having a good excuse to get a beer buzz before breakfast. For another, there's a fucking parade going by the front of my house!

This year might be a little different. Oh, I still expect the crowds, the food, the beer (a neighbor and I even intend to get a keg to make it all easier). But our not-so-esteemed Gov. Voldemort's been asked to be Grand Marshall this year. It's a slap in the face of all the people his administration is screwing, but that's not exactly new for the parade that used to be headed up by a guy dressed as the murdering scumbag Andrew Jackson. That being said, this will be the first year I have to remind people not to throw stuff at anyone in the parade. But booing remains legal. At least he's in the front, which will leave the rest of the parade to be enjoyed, heckled, and admired.

If you are local and read this, come on by. You know where I live. Bring a breakfast dish to share, and if you want something besides Pabst than BYOB. Parade party!


He digs it!


a weekend at the homestead

Mama and them were out at Dog Island this weekend, so I packed up my laundry and went out to keep an eye on the dogs and chickens and so on. There's never much to say about a quiet weekend, but I took some photos. So:

The bottle tree is blooming. Oh, and I just remembered that I left a green glass ginger ale bottle in the monkey grass that I intended to hang with the others. Sorry, mama! Didn't mean to leave trash in the yard.

Elvis and his ladies went over to visit the neighbor chickens. "Cluck, cluck, how's clucks?"

I just took this one because it seemed so cheesy country. Chickens and pickups!

Then I decided to make my wee nephew Owen a tent, because what kid doesn't love a place of their own? So I found an ax in dad's garage and set out into the bamboo forest to cut me some tent poles.

I dragged the poles up on the porch and lashed them together. I left one long for a flagpole. I'd bought a plain sheet at goodwill and cut it down for the cover.

And done! I fastened the cover with a dinosaur button, so Lily can leave the frame outside and just bring in the sheet when it's not in use. I left it blank so Owen can decorate it himself.

And here's Shane. He's really in tents.

Then some of my friends came over and we drank a lot of beer and had a good ol' time. And that was my weekend at the homestead. I love it.


Geeking Out

I didn't write this, but it so clearly speaks to how I feel about science fiction on tv (and in movies for that matter) that I have to save and share it. If you are any kind of sf geek and you didn't watch Battlestar Galatica (the new one - the old one is cheesy fun, but not the same kind of mindblowing storytelling) and Caprica, go start. Begin with BSG, by the way, and don't skip bits. It's a novel, not a comic book.

This is from a Television Without Pity recap about the Caprica episode "Gravedancing":

I mean, all we really ask of our TV is that there be fights and fucking and, on this channel, maybe a spaceship. But what if there were a soap opera that happened to be set in a SF universe, such that you could have the richest scientist couple in the world talk about going from Apple to Google in response to a terrorist threat, with a little GTA and IP law thrown in there? Most TV SF historically -- even the small bit now -- is on an Alan Dean Foster/Piers Anthony/Terry Brooks sort of track: Licensed and xeroxed, unrecognizably sexless and utopian, emotionally and socially shallow-to-illiterate, soullessly and bitterly commercial, and self-consciously intellectual on a scale somewhere between "nominally cerebral" and "borderline autistic." You get your occasional Babylon 5 (which would be... Oh! Pern, obviously) and Octavia Butlers and Nicola Griffithses like Farscape and all the Joss stuff, and yer Ender Wigginses like BSG.

Which is great! That's a long list and I'm proud of them all. But what if you went the full Cory Doctorow on that shit? What if Paolo Bacigalupi wrote the next hospital drama, or Ted Chiang was driving the new crimescene procedural? What if China MiƩville had a teen drama on ABC Family, how wonderful a trainwreck would that be? What if Grant Morrison wrote Smallville? What if Neal Stephenson wrote Lost, suddenly and all those Asperger's clues actually meant something? Wouldn't it feel more like the future, then? Wouldn't you feel like we were going somewhere?

I'm not saying that even needs to happen: I'm just saying that's what you're watching. It doesn't have much to do with the TV SF we've been trained to expect, but it has a hell of a lot more in common with SF literature than 90% of what's out there. Not an heir to Roddenberry or Lucas, boo hoo, but a hell of a lot closer to the lineage of Bradbury and Sturgeon and Ellison. It's fine to look for what's not there -- to demand that everything act like space opera, to get vicious with SGU for attempting to be less formulaic and idiotic than its forebears, while handing over record ratings for utter trash fanfic like Tin Man and Alice -- but when you do that, you run the risk of missing what is there because you didn't even know to look for it.

It's exactly this kind of nonsense that's turned Margaret Atwood into a bundle of twigs and hair. Is there ever a valid reason to hold TV to a lower standard, much less refuse to notice when it exceeds that standard? Is the ghetto really that self-reinforcing? Do you honestly think people read Left Hand Of Darkness or The Sparrow or Iain Banks because they're about shiny spaceships and freaky aliens? And I'll tell you another thing, if you think this shit's boring, I cannot wait to introduce you to good old Canticle For Leibowitz, which is nine million pages of monks walking slower than those giant moaning turtles from The Dark Crystal.