Saturday, December 1, 2007

Result of the year for Caley Thistle

I promise, this blog is NOT just about my soccer teams. But today, the Caley Thistle went into the toughest house in Scottish football and won. Dundee United had six wins and one draw from their first seven matches at home. They beat Rangers in that span. Today's 1-0 win by the Caley makes us the first team this year to get a result at Tannadice. It's been a tough start to the season, but things are starting to shape up a bit. Wee Ian Black's 20th minute strike was enough to take this one, for our second 1-0 win in as many weeks. When a team is struggling, a good manager (like Caley's Craig Brewster) shores up the defense and does his best to grind out results, and that's just what we've done. Mon the Caley!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Slow Weekend

As real-life work has once again reared its ugly head, I've been pretty quiet on the writing front. Since just before OryCon, I've been a little obsessed over a few time travel ideas, and they've been fleshed out a little, but not with any concrete results. I'm hoping to have one story ready by the middle of this week. We have about a week until the next online edition of 1097 is going up, so that will take up a pretty nice chunk of time this week as well, since we're not quite ready for that. The print edition isn't too far off, either, and there's work to be done there. Long story short: I'm busy.

In other news, there are two slightly uplifting stories involving my football teams. First, Caley Thistle won a tight match over St. Mirren in Inverness on Saturday, 1-0 on an early Don Cowie goal. Combined with Gretna's draw with Hearts, that puts us eight points above Gretna and one above Falkirk, who have been dropping like a rock. Nice to have another squad between us and the bottom. Caley is coming up on a very hard run of games, with Dundee United (#4 in Scotland), Hibernian (#3) and Celtic (#1) all coming up. I don't expect a lot from those matches, especially since United have been unstoppable at home this season. Hibs might be vulnerable - we'll see.

The other footie news is that Scotland has received their draw for the World Cup 2010 qualifiers. We will be in a five-team group with Holland, Norway, Macedonia and Iceland. It's a pretty good draw, certainly miles better than the Euro 2008 draw that saw us matched up with Italy, France and Ukraine. Holland is a team we have mixed results against, and Norway has been playing strong lately. We need at least second-place in the group to advance to the World Cup. Both of the minnows in the group, Iceland and Macedonia, are tricky, and can pull off the occasional upset, but that might not be the worst thing. In an even group like this, without a clear leader, it's the team that DOESN'T SCREW UP that wins. Scotland has been pretty consistent, and will play solid defensively if nothing else. We can reasonably hope that Macedonia has at least one upset in them (like their recent win over Croatia) and can hope that it's against Norway or Holland and not us. I like the draw. Holland is one of the only 1-seeded teams I think we may actually be better than on current form, and I'd put our odds of winning the group at about 4:1, odds of qualifying in second place at about even. Since there's 8 months or so to wait before the actual matches start, there's plenty of time for guessing.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Return from OryCon

I made my triumphant return to The Valley of Corn today, after a weekend in Portland for OryCon. It was ... hmmm ... Well, let me say what it wasn't. It was not a writers' conference. Not really. There were writers there, some of them very good and established writers. There were editors and other industry types too, but it was overwhelmingly a fan conference. Not that there's anything wrong with that - I just wasn't so into costume time with the furries. It says much more about me than them - they were all having a hell of a good time, and it really was their scene more than mine, so things were pretty much as they should have been. I really went to hang out with Camille anyway, and that was super cool. Tomorrow, a slush pile which is really more accurately described as a slush hill or even mountain awaits. Much editing will be done. Writing? Probably not so much for the next week or so.

The other news of the weekend, of course, is the end of Scotland's hopes in the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign. The team accomplished some truly incredible things this past year and a half, and though this was a sad note to go out on, it has set us up for a much better shot than before at World Cup qualifying. And when it comes down to it, that's the big show, the one that matters. South Africa 2010 is now the focus. Alba Gu Brath.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Strike

There are some excellent videos on YouTube and elsewhere describing the current screenwriters' strike going on in Hollywood. Here is my favorite one:

It's an interesting situation. Obviously, I think writers deserve a huge chunk of television and movie profits, due to the fact that they are, along with the directors, the individuals most responsible for "creating" the content. What I don't agree with is the back-and-forth going on between people I know in the movie industry about who is the greedy backstabber putting the industry at risk. The fact is that this doesn't adequately describe either side. The producers and writers made an agreement, a long way back, about profits from video. The writers guild agreed to what was already a pretty bad deal back then, and has slowly devolved into a phenomenally, criminally unfair deal. Even worse, there was apparently no solid date set for renegotiation of the deal. Now I know that none of us could have predicted the way that DVD and the internet have changed motion picture media, but I would like to think a lot of us could have predicted that things would change in the past twenty years, enough that the terms of the contract might need to be revised.

I support the strike, but I think I support it for a different reason than a lot of writers. I refuse to get into the class warfare arguments I hear back and forth, and I really don't see greed as the issue. I see the strike as a good way of correcting a bad deal that was made a long time ago, and I hope that it will end in the writer's guild (who hopefully have smarter people working for them than they used to) making a better deal.

Basically, I side with the writers, and with the guild, but I hope that guild members realize that they should be as unhappy with their old leadership, who put them in this situation, as they are with the studio producers who have kept them in it. I also hope that people on both sides who are doing well financially are willing to buy a lunch every once in a while for the hundreds of crew members and skilled laborers who are out of work because of the strike. There are rich writers and poor writers (much more of the latter), but there are no rich key grips, and I hope for their sake as much as anyone's that the strike doesn't last too long.

In other news, Norman Mailer passed away. He was, by most accounts, a sexist and overall a fairly mean and unpleasant man, but even if all he ever did was co-found The Village Voice, one of the best independent newspapers in the world, I take my hat off to him for that. I was honestly never a huge fan of his books, but that is one hell of a paper, and I thank him for it.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Coolest. Thing. Ever.

Just a short note to remind you that whatever you do for a living, someone at NASA has a cooler job. They have just released actual sound files recorded by the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and its moons. Maybe its the constant glut of images that are a part of our daily experience, but for some reason a photo, even a photo taken on the surface of Mars, doesn't take me there. But, sound. Sound seems so much more real. Great stuff from NASA - Check it out.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

When one thing is good

It's been a frustrating week. There are some work issues, and some family issues, and some other work issues ... that's what I get for trying to do more than one job. When the multitasking I've been trying to do works, I love it. It lets me define myself in more than one way, and get things that I find interesting done in a lot of different arenas. Great. But when it doesn't work, it REALLY doesn't work. I think I've got the beginning of a cold, which of course doesn't help, but I don't think that's so much a reason for as a symptom of the current blaahhhhh ... I swore this blog would never be a stupid emotional "Waah" party, and it's in great danger of becoming that, so I'll move on.

There is one bright spot lately, but even that is confusing. No, my soccer team hasn't been winning ... it's the OTHER thing that makes somewhat-grown men smile. That's right, somewhat-grown women. There is a very confusing girl on the scene ... promising, but a bit of a cypher. For those of you that no longer find yourself in the dating pool, take a minute right now to pat yourselves on the back, because no matter how much some people try to pretend they like it, it sucks. This particular part of the dating process, the "Do you like me, or like-like me?" part, makes me want to crap out a book about puke. I hate it. The last time I was actually in a relationship (with The One Who Shall Not Be Named), it just sort of happened. No dating. Just one part Me, one part SoulSuckingMonster, and Voila - relationship. No fuss, no muss. Sure, it ended horribly (hence the nicknames), but it worked for a pretty respectable amount of time. I want that beginning part again, where everything just sort of happens. No dinner-and-a-movie with an awkward part afterwards. Dinner, yes. Movie, yes. Awkward, not so much.

I've decided to have my first West Coast Christmas in a long time. I always go back East for the holidays, but the hassle and a half that is NY during Christmastime just isn't going to happen this year.

For those of you that don't care about my personal life and only want raw, cold numbers, here are the disappointing stats for my personal version of NaNoWrMo or whatever ... IaStWrAnRuMo

Words: 5400 after 7 days (-5100 from goal, or just over half, yuck.)
Running: 1.2 miles (-3.84 from goal, or WAY under half. More yuck.)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Oh Wha Tana Siam

Yeah, so, it's been a weird day. I feel like looking at it and waving my finger like a disappointed parental figure and asking it, "Why can't you be more like yesterday?" But that wouldn't be fair. It wasn't that yesterday was anything special. There was dinner that was good, and dinner company that was awesome. The fact that there was a couch at the place we ate was pretty much the best thing ever. I lost my point. Screw it - I'm not going back. That pretty much sums up today.

It started off badly. I always make myself a big breakfast on either Saturday or Sunday morning, and this week it was Sunday. That should have been a good start, but it wasn't. It was the most god-awful omelette I've ever made in my life. It tasted like feet. A harbinger of an altogether foot-tasting day to come.

Over at 1097 Magazine, we've had to make the very difficult decision to scale back our ridiculous pie-in-the-sky idea of a monthly web and print journal to a web edition every month and a print edition four times a year. I'm really disappointed, but it's a decision that, at best, could only have been postponed.

In other news, I am behind in both writing and running, and I'm not going to report how much right now. It's not that I don't know how much. Oh, I'm WAY too compulsive not to know. I'll report tomorrow, when I have made up a little ground. Seeing those two minus signs tonight will only serve to piss me off more at myself.

Thanks to Camille for the kind words and limerick. I think I'll be bringing the scotch with me. Thanks, really - this is one of those days that is bad, but bad in a way that none of my friends here really understand. Cheers.