Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Many European cultural traditions, in particular Celtic cultures, hold that Halloween is one of the liminal times of the year when spirits can make contact with the physical world, and when magic is most potent (according to, for example, Catalan mythology about witches and Scottish and Irish tales of the Sídhe).

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Great Debate

Should Humans survive the next extinction?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rock On John

How to name a band...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Stray Birds

STRAY birds of summer come to my window

to sing and fly away.

And yellow leaves of autumn,

which have no songs,

flutter and fall there with a sigh.

From Stray Birds, by Rabindranath Tagore

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Giant Pumpkin Regatta

What do you do with a giant pumpkin after you've won the contest? Attach an outboard motor and make a boat out of it, of course!

Check out the video.
Crazy Mainer

Monday, October 08, 2007

His Dark Materials

Thanks to my great friend Ethel for sending an engrossing trilogy, just when I needed one. I'm on the third book...wonderful reading for all ages and anyone who needs to sit still, relax and get away for awhile.
The funny thing is that my first impression of this story is that the author, Philip Pullman, made it up as he went along, which he seems to deny in the first question under FAQ on his website. But many of the characters, threads and details do not carry through the story and it really seems that he is more faithful to his imagination than to plot or character consistency...but you be the judge.

Q: Did you have the whole story in your head when you began writing His Dark Materials?

A: Yes, in outline, though not in detail. I haven't got enough RAM in my head to deal with 1300 pages of yet-unwritten material. But any writer of stories has to have a certain architectural sense, I mean a feeling for large shapes, and an instinct for whether they'll stand up safely, or need lots of propping up to make them steady, or whether they'll just fall down whatever you do, and so on. And of course when you begin a large project like His Dark Materials, you make sure beforehand that the large shape is secure.

It's the details you can take chances with, and afford to be surprised by. I don't like planning things too tightly, because then you're not surprised by anything. I was very surprised by the armoured bear, Iorek Byrnison, for example; I hadn't expected him to be a bit like that. And the Gallivespians in The Amber Spyglass surprised me enormously.