Sounds like you want to avoid Tea Thyme and Lavender in Portland, Oregon. Author Mary Robinette Kowal just had her car towed from their parking lot and was charged $252. Even though she has a receipt showing that she shopped there less than an hour before her car was towed, the business refuses to refund her money and has been unacceptably rude in dealing with her. Perhaps they should consider changing their name to Tea Thyme and Larceny.
Nifty! Ron Gilbert linked to our interview from his Twitter account. We always appreciate it when people do that.
And here are two nice comments:
Dr-Doomsayer writes: “Great podcast as always, guys. It was like traveling back 25 years into my past — and then back again! As always, the best geek podcast online.”
And nbd9000 writes: “Perfect timing! I just started working my way through the Monkey Island games again, introducing them to my wife, and this was a nice easter egg! On another note: about the Infocom version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The trick was to not do anything! If you tried to actively solve puzzles, you would inadvertently die, but if you mirrored Arthur Dent’s complete lack of action from the book, the game would actually beat itself. It was sort of an in-joke, and the only Infocom game that would do so.”
Here’s one of the scariest and most riveting articles I’ve read recently: “The Shadow Scholar” in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Here’s a sampling:
“For those of you who have ever mentored a student through the writing of a dissertation, served on a thesis-review committee, or guided a graduate student through a formal research process, I have a question: Do you ever wonder how a student who struggles to formulate complete sentences in conversation manages to produce marginally competent research? How does that student get by you?”
“Let’s be honest: The successful among us are not always the best and the brightest, and certainly not the most ethical. My favorite customers are those with an unlimited supply of money and no shortage of instructions on how they would like to see their work executed. While the deficient student will generally not know how to ask for what he wants until he doesn’t get it, the lazy rich student will know exactly what he wants. He is poised for a life of paying others and telling them what to do. Indeed, he is acquiring all the skills he needs to stay on top.”
“Over the years, I’ve refined ways of stretching papers. I can write a four-word sentence in 40 words. Just give me one phrase of quotable text, and I’ll produce two pages of ponderous explanation. I can say in 10 pages what most normal people could say in a paragraph. I’ve also got a mental library of stock academic phrases: ‘A close consideration of the events which occurred in ____ during the ____ demonstrate that ____ had entered into a phase of widespread cultural, social, and economic change that would define ____ for decades to come.’ Fill in the blanks using words provided by the professor in the assignment’s instructions.”
“With respect to America’s nurses, fear not. Our lives are in capable hands — just hands that can’t write a lick. Nursing students account for one of my company’s biggest customer bases. I’ve written case-management plans, reports on nursing ethics, and essays on why nurse practitioners are lighting the way to the future of medicine. I’ve even written pharmaceutical-treatment courses, for patients who I hope were hypothetical.”
Well, I’d rather be back in the Top 10, but I have to admit this is an oddly fitting ranking for the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy:
So several people in my Facebook and Twitter feeds mentioned that Disney’s Tangled (a retelling of Rapunzel) is surprisingly good, so I decided to give it a try, and yeah, I thought it was terrific. Check it out.
Weird dream I just had:
I was trapped in a supermarket with a bunch of other people and we knew that a monster attack was imminent. We were all huddled on the floor in the corner of the store that was felt to be the safest. We somehow knew that Coca-Cola might help us survive, but most people were reluctant to move from the “safe” corner to go get any. I made my way to a different corner where the Coca-Cola was and got myself a two liter bottle, and a few other people were doing the same thing, and then I returned to the safe corner. As I sat there listening to people’s nervous chatter, I started drinking my Coca-Cola. Then I stared at the bottle and noticed that I’d already drunk half of it, and I wondered what the hell I’d been thinking to start drinking my Coca-Cola when it was the key to surviving a monster attack. I realized then that I was a little confused about how exactly Coca-Cola would help you survive a monster attack. Did it repel the monster? Or did the monster really like Coca-Cola, so therefore you could use it as a peace offering or a distraction? Then someone said, “Or maybe it was orange soda…” and not Coca-Cola at all, and I lost confidence in the efficacy of Coca-Cola in this situation.
I raised my hand and asked someone in charge whether we were expected to sit here or if we were free to go find someplace else to huddle helplessly, and he said no that was fine, so I started hurrying down the aisles looking for a hiding place. I climbed over a counter and opened a cabinet, but it was too small for me to squeeze into, so I kept looking. I found a place where there were these sort of Mayan temple/modern art pillars, and I thought I could climb them to a ledge, so I did. On the ledge was a trapdoor, but when I opened it there was just a shallow depression there that was also too small for me to squeeze into. Then I realized that the ledge I was on was actually in a field outside the store, so I climbed down and started making my way across busy streets and away from the supermarket. Now that I was out of there, I started to feel pretty confident about my chances of surviving.
I made my way up a hill to a large Mount Kisco Medical Group office building, and went inside. I knew the place had massive labyrinthine underground archives, and for a moment I debated whether heading downstairs or upstairs would be safer, but I settled on upstairs. As I made my way up the stairs, there were a group of women ahead of me, and one of them hadn’t heard yet that the city was being attacked by a giant monster, so one of the other women was explaining the situation to her, and mentioned that the monster could leap miles and shred concrete as if it were paper, which made me a little more nervous again. I made it to the top floor and peeked out a window, and I could see the monster splashing around in the harbor below and causing devastation. The monster was giant and green and had two massive tentacles with fins at the ends that trailed along behind it.
Then, to my horror, the monster leapt straight at me, like a head crab from Half-Life with its round toothy lamprey-mouth, flying miles and landing on the building I was in. I tried to run, but it smashed through the wall and gobbled me up, but somehow I was still running away, still trying to escape. I was on the roof of a different building now, a luxury apartment complex with stairs linking various rooftop levels, each of which had a pool, and young people in swimsuits were thronging the pools and having parties and hoping that the monster would attack their parties. As I ran past, with the monster in pursuit, one guy said to the monster, “Hey monster, why didn’t you come to my party, man?” (In my dream the monster had a normal everyday name, but I don’t remember what it was.)
I started to realize that this was all a dream, that in fact it had turned into a parody of Cloverfield — one criticism I heard of Cloverfield is how ridiculous it is that in a city the size of New York the main characters keep running into the monster wherever they go, almost as if it’s following them around. In my dream that was actually the case, and the monster was following me around and gobbling me up and spitting me out repeatedly. As the monster closed in on me yet again, I turned and noticed that he was somehow both a giant monster and also a handsome reality TV star with wavy dark hair. I screamed, “Why do you keep attacking me?” and he said nonchalantly, “Because I like you.”
Then I woke up.
Dammit. Just saw that Irvin Kershner, director of The Empire Strikes Back, has died. I took his screenwriting class at USC a few years ago. Really nice guy, and I doubt there was anything about movies that he didn’t know. He was also a good sport about answering all my Star Wars questions, when I’m sure he would have rather been talking about Ingmar Bergman.
Via John Joseph Adams:
I’m editing another anthology of reprint fiction for Night Shade Books, this time focused on Cthulhu/Mythos fiction. It will be called The Book of Cthulhu and will be released sometime next fall. As I’ve done with most of my other anthologies, I’d like to solicit recommendations, so if you have any outstanding examples of Cthulhu fiction you’d to point out to me, please feel free to let me know about them by entering them into my Cthulhu/Mythos Fiction Database.
HBO has launched a new video podcast for A Game of Thrones with featurettes about the upcoming series.
Here’s a great panel discussion. The Seattle Geekly podcast presents Retrospective on Roleplaying:
This last year saw the loss of Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson, and Erick Wujcik, three of the founding fathers of the RPG hobby. What were their contributions and how did roleplaying become what it is today?
In this panel, recorded Saturday August 8 at Dragonflight 2009, gaming luminaries Peter Adkison, the founder and first CEO of Wizards of the Coast, Tim Beach, who contributed material to virtually all of TSR’s campaign settings in the 1990s, Skaff Elias, the original VP of R&D for Magic: The Gathering, and Jonathan Tweet, one of the lead designers for the 3.0 edition of Dungeons & Dragons, discuss the past and future of the hobby.
Christie Yant, who has assisted us mightily with the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast, just had her first published story, “The Magician and the Maid and Other Stories,” picked by Rich Horton for his Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2011 Edition. The story, which appears in the John Joseph Adams anthology The Way of the Wizard, is free to read online. Congrats!
io9 has decided to run Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy Episode 25 tomorrow rather than today, so as not to have a bunch of big features all come out at the same time, but never fear, the show is ready to go and will be appearing on Thursday. (In this episode we interview Robert Kirkman about his graphic novel series The Walking Dead, basis for the new hit show on AMC.)
Just saw that Myke Cole, who I know from back in the day when he was an assistant at Weird Tales, has sold his fantasy novel Latent to Penguin Putnam in a 3-book deal. I ran into Myke this year at New York Comic Con, where he described the book as “military contractors who are also sorcerers.” (Myke has been on the ground in Afghanistan working as a military contractor.)
This is fascinating. The Skeptoid podcast takes a critical look at “speed reading.”
So I went and checked out the Literature podcasts category over at the iTunes store to see if Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy would show up on the list anywhere. I figured it was a long shot, but I thought we might sneak in at number 197 or something. But this is what it’s showing me:
Is that for real? Are those results personalized for me or something? Anyway, move over Oprah, there’s a new media empire in town.
My short story “Family Tree” is now free to read online over at the official website for the John Joseph Adams anthology The Way of the Wizard. This is a story where everything just really fell into place. If you only read one thing I’ve written in the last few years, read this one:
Illustration by Michael DiMotta:
Garrett, Elizabeth, Sebastian (baby), Bernard, Simon
Malcolm, Meredith, Meredith’s mother, Nathan
The Tree of Victor Archimagus
The TV adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s brilliant and shocking graphic novel series The Walking Dead premieres tonight! And it’s available through iTunes! Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy just interviewed Kirkman, and we’ll be including that interview, along with our reactions to tonight’s program, in Episode 25.