Friday, December 5, 2014

5 Things on a Friday: It's All About Taylor!

There was lots of news this week, but I made a conscious decision to try to keep this list light.  I’d never consider the casting announcement of a new James Bond movie news, for example, but it’s either that or talk about something serious, and who wants to be serious on a Friday?
Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran also featured as models strutted around them.
The key to selling underwear is getting shoppers to see the right
people wearing it.
Reviews I’ve read have said that Swift could have a second career as a runway model if she wanted one, and frankly, I’m not surprised.  If her new album is about anything, it’s about how amazingly talented and successful she is—and about how she’s tired of hiding it from her “aw shucks” Country audience.
Nevertheless, the show itself is causing something of a crisis of faith in the Head household.  Hannah’s favorite artists are Swift and Grande, but Hannah’s mother is not excited by the idea of these two prancing around in their underwear for the cameras.  Personally, I don’t care what they wear, and if Hannah decides one day to do this show as a performer, I won’t care about that either.  As a singer, Hannah can already hit both artists’ ranges, and I hear her singing both singers’ songs constantly.  However, it bothers me that performing half-naked has become a definition of success, that girls feel like they have to perform in their underwear if they want to win over audiences.  That’s the part that I don’t like.
Look, Swift can make whatever choices she wants for her own career.  This choice was lucrative in the extreme, I’m sure.  I’m not saying she shouldn’t have worked the show.  Back when I swan, I used to prance around in far less than what Swift wore, occasionally in front of very sizeable crowds for far less reward.  But I’m not much for body modesty; I’m just not.  That’s me.  My girls, however, have to make their own choices, and it’s the freedom of those choices that concerns me, especially when one of my girls is such a constant performer.
“Before the speech, there had been widespread speculation in Russia on whether Mr. Putin would favor conservatives who want to pursue a confrontation with the West despite the economic costs or liberals who think that attitude brought disaster to the Soviet Union.
“Mr. Putin did a little of both, taking a defiant stand on foreign policy but vowing to implement policies that would help small and medium businesses.”
At first, I thought these pictures showed
him walking on water.
Mr. Putin would like to have it both ways.  He’d like to grow Russian businesses and strengthen his country’s economy, but not at the expense of shoving his opinions up the collective asses of whichever NATO members will hold still and take it.  He’s also not willing to listen to what his people have to say on the matter, which is liable to make liberalizing reforms a challenge.
For the longest time, Putin’s been able to run the state his way and rely on oil and gas reserves to prop up his government.  With oil looking to stabilize at $60/barrel, though, that plan looks unsustainable over time, and now he’s got some honest-to-God choices to make.  It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, but I’m glad as Hell that I don’t live in Russia right now.  The oligarchs might take it all in stride, but I expect the common people are about to suffer.
Actors Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear and Ben Whishaw will all return in roles introduced in 2012's Skyfall. Newcomers include Dave Bautista, Monica Bellucci, Andrew Scott, Léa Seydoux and Christoph Waltz.
Léa Seydoux is not a typical Bond
girl if you ask me.
I like Craig as Bond, and I think it’s great that Bautista has landed another role.  He was excellent as Drax is Guardians of the Galaxy.  That said, I thought Skyfall was an ending.  I’m a little surprised to see that they didn’t reboot the franchise—or at least cast another Bond.  Craig has held the role for nearly a decade now, and rumor has it that he’s been looking for an out for the last few years.
For what it’s worth, I would personally prefer a remake of Diamonds Are Forever.  That’s one of my favorite Bond books, but the movie is as goofy as it can be.  A realistic Craig-style take on the material that includes the connection between the illicit diamond trade and terrorist financing would be a more welcome addition to the series—to me—than a rehash of the SMERSH, I mean SPECTRE, storyline.  Also, that SMERSH plotline barely makes any sense without From Russia With Love.  
4.  Stolen Valor

I started watching this because I thought it would be funny but found it infuriating instead.  This guy’s gall, to sit there and lie to a kid like that, is absolutely unbelievable.  Of all the weird-ass shit that people pull on a day-to-day basis, the “stolen valor” thing has got to be the weirdest and hardest for me to understand.  
Want to wear a uniform?  Join the Army!  They’d love to have you, and you don’t even have to stay in for very long.  Just do a two-year enlistment, check the block on your ego, and move on with your life.  It’s not that hard.
I mean, my man clearly had dreams of being an Army Ranger.  Why else would he dress up like one?  And more to the point, why bother to do research on the Internet about it.  He knew his bogus MOS and everything.  What I don’t get is why he just didn’t march his happy ass down to the local recruiter, sign on the dotted line, and make an honest man of himself.  It only takes two years!  Sure, he’s too old and fat now, but at one point he had to have been young and stupid.  He didn’t have to spend his life being a fraud.  Maybe he wouldn’t have made it all the way into the Ranger Regiment, but he could have done something worthwhile.
It’s weird.  Seriously, I don’t get it.
5.  Writer’s Update: Almost There!
It’s been an interesting week.  I’ve spent what time I’ve had going back through Sneakatara Boatman and the Priest of Loki, doing copy-edits and basically trying to get the manuscript into the kind of shape where I’ll feel comfortable showing it off to total strangers.  At the same time, my friend Alan and I have been working on the book’s cover, hopefully for a launch this very weekend.  We’ll see if there’s time for that.  It’s not exactly a done deal.
Still, I’m excited.  I don’t think that the book is gonna sell a million copies or anything, but I feel like it’s been a thing for a while now, and I’m eager to get it out there and start moving forward again.  In many ways, deciding what to do with it has been the hardest part of writing it.  
At one level, I hate to self-publish because I think—I want to believe, anyway—that it’s better than most other self-published fare.  On the other hand, I feel good about saying that it’s kind of a niche project, that I wrote it for my kids, and that if it makes sense to them in a way that it may not to an actual publishing house.  Besides which, finding a publisher, an agent, going through all that stuff…  It was going to be a whole second career.  Frankly, I’m not looking for another career.  I already have a career, and I work with a little triathlon club, and that stuff already keeps me busy.  I want to share my work and put more work out there, but the whole business side of publishing is outside the scope of my interest.  I personally will be ecstatic if this book sells a thousand copies.  That would more than pay back the time and effort I’ve invested in it.  However, it’s not at all what the publishing industry is looking for out of a new author.
I think this is it.
Here’s the book description I wrote yesterday:
“Wanderhaven is the city with everything, the gateway to the world and the capital of the Kingdom of the Western Isles.  The streets are hard, though, and for a teenaged street-urchin named Sneakatara Boatman, they’re often cruel, too.  “Sneax” will do anything to escape the grinding poverty and hopelessness she’s known all her life.  On most days, though, she’s lucky just to survive.  Sneax’s lone friend is an apprentice wizard named Elaina Emboo, a rich girl from a nice family who hates the life her father has planned for her.  Elaina envies Sneax’s freedom but doesn’t understand what all that freedom actually costs.  
When the infamous fire elf smuggler Draks comes to town, Sneax gets a chance to maybe change her life.  But change is dangerous, and a fire elf will kill you as soon as look at you.”
Well, what do you think?  Are you ready to read the book?

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