The blog for The Solitaire Rose Experience. Yes, the blog revolution is utterly and completely over. However, I haven't figured that out yet, so I'll be listing articles, ideas, links, and other internet debris. Now, you can join in! And be mocked mercilessly!

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Am I joining the tinfoil hat club?

AP Wire | 06/25/2004 | Voting Official Seeks Terrorism Guidelines

I once thought that the people who were saying that Bush and his people might use "terrorism" to stop the voting if the polls were against them were just the kind of people that would wrap thier homes in tinfoil and say that the CIA is listening to their dreams. This report, however, is a bit disturbing, as it seems election officials are asking for rules on calling an election due to terrorism.

And the chief of the panel was appointed by Bush. The mitigating factor? He used to work with Jesse Jackson.

But it's still a bit disturbing that they are asking "What do we do if terrorists attack and we have to stop the election."

I hope I'm horribly, horribly wrong and I need to buy tinfoil.

A random thought

Some comedy writer who I really admire will point out from time to time that the original Saturday Night Live wasn't as funny as some subsequent seasons, and it has always been hard for me to react to that.

I was about 11 when SNL went on the air, and I prolly watched the very first episode of the series, since I would stay up late on Saturday nights to watch the midnight horror movie, but I do CLEARLY remember the very early episodes, and seeing people like Andy Kaufmann challenge what was considered entertainment. For people who watch TV now and weren't around then, it's hard to explain how different SNL was from everything else on TV.

The "pinnacle" of sketch comedy was the Carol Burnett show, which was funny and all, but worked more on just being silly than being funny. In each episode they would have cast members cracking up at the jokes they were giving. It was all very safe and bland, something you could watch with Grandma in the room.

SNL was dangerous back then. They were doing drug humor, sex humor, and (best of all) Smart humor. They broke the rules of how TV was done, and injected a sense that anything could happen when they were on stage. Now, SNL has become the Carol Burnett show, with the biggest "joke" of the seasons being a sketch where everyone cracked up and they couldn't finish. It might be funnier now, but it's not important anymore.

And that's why the origianl shines for those of us who loved it.

Public announcement

Here's the first chapter of the novel I've been talking about.

I'm deep in chapter three now and will prolly finish it withing a few days. I'm only posting the first chapter for now, since the second hasn't gone through the heavy edit.

But it IS in progress.

I also did a lot of updates on the site and will do more in the next couple of days. Catching up on things takes a lot of time.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Crossgen is all but gone now

Yep, they've filed for Chapter 11.

Crossgen had a number of problems, and while I'm no expert, I can point to quite a few things they did right, and more that they did wrong.

I like that they hired their artists and writers and paid them a salary along with royalties. It made the books come out on time, since artists didn't have to scrounge for other work, they could get help in the office and generally nto worry about things like paychecks. I like that they geared their work toward people not being served by the comics industry currently, and if they would have followed through on aiming their work at fantasy fans and women, they could have succeeded in the outer market. Some of the work was very good, some of the writing was bad, the books always looked good. And I loved the "Forge" and "Edge" books; big, thick anthologies that reprinted about 7 or 8 comics for $10. I think if they would have packed them with ads and put them on newsstands (like Shonen Jump) they might still be around.

However, they did a LOT of things wrong, and they are things that too many other companies do wrong when they enter the market.

First, they published way too many books. There are a finite number of comics people will buy, and too many companies enter the market with 8 or more comics, making it so people who would try them can say, "I have to buy 8 books a month to keep up? Forget it." Marvel started their "universe' with one book, then added another 6 months later. It took almost 4 years for them to have all 8 of their monthly books as part of the Superhero line, meaning it was easy for people to buy all of their work and keep up.

Second, they hired great artists and a LOT of writers who were, at best, used up. Ron Marz and Chuck Dixon were writers who were typical hack writers, the ones you go to when you want it Thursday instead of good. Chuck Dixon has BRAGGED about the fact that he has a formula template on his computer. Barbara Kesel has never written ANYTHING worth reading and Mark Waid got out of there after a year.

Lastly, they trusted the book market. As a LOT of new and established publishers have discovered, just because you can get into bookstores, doesn't mean you are IN bookstores. There were hundreds of reports of the Big CrossGen displays for Barnes and Noble not even being put on the sales floor...kept in the back and then stripped for returns credit.

Still, I would be VERY scared to know how much money they ran through.

And with that, he's back

The novel is moving speedily along, I'm now in the middle of the third chapter and spent most of the day editing the prologue and first chapter so that I can send it out to a few people to look over. The second chapter went through a polishing...and I have had to change a lot of things retroactively as I discover more about the characters. How was I to know that Heather would be the oldest character and try to assume a den mother role? I will prolly spend a lot of time editing over the next few weeks, as I have to be at work, but there's not a lot of "work stuff" I can do there.

Lots of sitting and observing and waiting. Good editing time.

Blogging is something that I wish I did better. Some people are amazing at it like Mark Evanier and Neil Gaiman, but really, you just kind of expect that, since they are both gifted and talented writers.

I never kept a journal of my life...even in a class where we were to keep a journal, I would write jokes about news events, essays about why only God can make a tree (because he hides the instrctions from us) or reviews of comics. It was next to impossible to write about my life without sounding like the old "Cheech and Chong" routine "Sister Mary Elephant".

"Today I woke up. I took a shower while listening to the news. I drove to work. I talked to people, wrote a list of things I had to do, did everything on the list and went home. Then at home I shoved something in my piehole and wrote or watched a movie. Then I went to bed."

I tend not to "journal" my ideas and such because they work themselves into my writing. As I edit the early Janus Trelane stuff, it is amazing just how much of it is just stuff that is bubbling up from my inner mind...reacting to my life at the time. The novel I am doing now is actually a bit of a meditation on my life from about 5 or so years ago in a way. Delaing with the workplace, creativity in it and such...but as with all of my writing, it's all about putting a bunch of interesting people together and having them react to each other.

I did read a bunch of celebrity blogs I read about on The Onion A.V. Club, it struck me that as much as we all like to think that blogging is the Next Big Thing, it's the same as it ever was. Talking to people in a way that tries to tell them that if they Just Knew You, they'd like you.

Maybe that's why I have trouble blogging. I don't much care about being liked while I'm here. I'd much rather you read something I wrote and like IT. Me? I'm the quiet one who is sitting the corner, watching you and thinking how I can put you into a novel.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I'm behind

Unlike in the past, I will let you know that I will be away from the blog for the remainder of the week. I am behind on my wordcount and buried at work.

More later.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Just an observation

I read where Rush Limbaugh announced late Friday (so as not to be included in the news cycle) that he is divorsing his third wife. That bastion of Family Values shows again that he can't seem to put his money where his beliefs are. He makes $300 million on his new contact...and his wife still couldn't put up with him. I knew something was up when Limbaugh got in trouble for drugs, and after he said that he had been through rehab twice to try and kick the habit...and his wife said she had no idea he had the problem. When you go to rehab, you are there for 28 days. She didn't know he was gone for 28 days? That's NOT a close marriage.

Now, there are endless jokes about this, but I just wonder if this is one of the effects of Gay Marriage: His was so endangered by gay marriage that it couldn't withstand the assault!

Friday, June 11, 2004

Bad things about writing

When you are writing about some characters, you tend to go to a very dark place inside yourself. And sometimes, the darkness is beckoning as you do so.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

15000 words

Really about 200 or so words beyond it.

I'm on goal, which is a good thing, I was starting to really beat myself for not being on goal. Tomorrow I have to do "planning" for writing, plotting out the rest fo the "First season" of this fictional radio show. I know that at some point I will need a strong editor to sit down and say, "Lose 100,000 words and you've got a great book", but for now, since it is the first draft, everything goes into it.

Still, I need a road map, and a few ideas for the "sketches" that the performers write and create, so I'll be making up more comedy ideas than most writers do working for Saturday Night Live in a year.

Why did I get hit with this idea? Why do I love it so much?


Running behind on my word count (wanted to be at 15000 by the end of the day), but with keeping a full-time job, being blind on Monday, and all the other things that go with having a life, I am running behind. I should be caught up on Saturday, since Friday is a day I am unable to write due to outside committments.

My goal for the month is 50K, which is what I am able to get every November. It is easily within my grasp, and I imagine that with my dronings, the comics page and the Weekly News Update, I am getting around that every month anyway, but I want to dedicate that much time and work to my fiction as well as the other writing.

If I can keep the pace up for a month, and then edit the next month, and then write the next month and so on, I should be able to get three to five novels done a year. I realize that sounds like a lot, but most of the professional writers I read about on the subject, say that if they get 2000 words, it is a good day. I'm going for 500 less than that while keeping a very stressful job and a lot of outside writing. It will be interesting at least.

The novel itself was kind of sedate today, no big surprises as I wrote, which is not a normal day. Usually, when I am "in the zone" the characters dictate what is going to be happening, but this novel is a mix of two genres....I might even post the first chapter up on the site in the next few days if I get time to edit it this weekend.

The comic strip continues to wait for the artist to start drawing it again. I have the next year's worth of strips written, but at the pace it is going at now, most of the ones I wrote last month won't be drawn until 2005 or even 2006 if it takes another hiatus. Makes it hard for me to write, knowing that I am writing that far into the future. Who knows, by then, I will have been run over by a banana truck, and any of the monkey jokes I do would be in poor taste.

It's weird writing something you may never see used. Now I know how most screenwriters feel.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Kate Worley has passed away

Details are here.

Omaha the Cat Dancer was one of the first "Adult" comics I read, and it was because it had more than sex to recommend it. Reed Waller's art was incredible, but that wouldn't have kept my interest if not for Kate's scripts. She brought each and every character to life in a way that few authors in comics ever could. Even the character who weren't "likable" had real reasons behind their actions, and she was one fo the very few authors who could make any character she wrote a whole person.

The story was left unfinished due to medical problems of both parties, and even with a LOT of interest by publisher, it never really wrapped up.

I knew Kate and Reed, working on the comic con here in Minneapolis, and Kate was a wonderful person to just talk to for hours at a time over a few drinks. She told a great story about how, whenever she was low on money in college, she'd run an ad for "training cats to use the toilet", run off a sheet showing how to put their litterbox on the toilet and use smaller and smaller boxes until the cat would just use the toilet instead of a litterbox...and she'd charge $10 - $20 for the "course" depending on how short she was on rent for the month.

I heard a couple of weeks ago that she and Reed were working together again on Omaha, and I just didn't have time to shoot her an e-mail to let her know how happy I was that they were working in comics again, and how I'd like to put my feeble web efforts into promoting the return of the comic. Now, she's gone.

Once again, the media gets it wrong

There once was a sherrif who was mocked for threw a mother in jain for subjecting her children to sunburn.

He became a HUGE story for people like Limbaugh and Hannity, showing how the "Nanny government had run amok." He said it was a case of child endangerment, they said it was endemic of liberals wanting to do...something, it depended on what issue they were told to attack Democrats on that day.

That child is now dead of child abuse and the mother is in jail on charges of maslaghter.

Draw your own conclusions, but I'm sure drawing mine and they are that the sherrif was doing his job and trying to prevent the death of a child. - Taxes, gays, abortion targeted by state GOP - Taxes, gays, abortion targeted by state GOP

It is thing like this that make it harder and harder for me to think that there is any middle ground anymore. The Texas Republicans (who have a stanglehold on the national party thanks for Tom DeLay's efforts) want to make it a felony to perform a gay marriage, are calling for holy wart between Christians and Moslems, new restrictions on lawsuits brought over exposure to asbestos among other things. This is the party that controls our country. This is the party that says they are the majority. How much do you want to bet that they won't be putting any of THIS in their ads. That's why Bush's ads have been overwhelmingly negative...they have nothing positive at their core, just hatred and greed.

Friday, June 04, 2004

And the novel grows

I'm ahead of schedule, and have almost 6K words for the month so far. The novel is a solid one, but I can tell I'll get bogged down in editing, so I'll have to take it places I have a lot of waiting time to do the editing, and count the re-writes seperately.

I read where a lot of professional novelists set a goal for themselves of 2000 words a day...and since I can crack out 1600 while working a job that consumes 50 - 70 hours of my week, live alone and run my house, have a bit of a social life AND write a weekly news parody, I don't think that 2k a day is an unrealistic goal for my next run at this (in August). NaNoWriMo has been kind of a joy every time I've tried it, but this time I'm doing it completely on my own, and I won't have a complete novel for three months, so it's a bit harder.

I won't get too deep into the plot here, but by the end of the month, I'll have a sample chapter up for people to read.

I will also be taking down the two completed NaNoWriMo novels and putting up sample chapters of them as well, as I will be offering one of them as an eBook by the end of the year, and the other one will be getting a "sequel" that will bring it up to respectable novel length, and will make the rounds to publishers. And yes, I will prolly blog that process as well.

Because if it isn't on the net, it didn't happen.

The two episodes of Drew Carey were very odd last night...almost a domestic comedy with Mimi as his "wife". Now I KNOW I missed a lot with ABC shuffling the show around all last season.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

The strange story of the last season of the Drew Carey show

I liked the Drew Carey show. It was one of the few shows that actually went out of its way to tell jokes, set up humor situations and follow through on them without trying to be "real" while still being funny. It wasn't brilliant, but it did what it wanted to do: Tell jokes in a setting that people knew.

For a while, Drew was ABC's biggest star, and his sit-com was about the only thing not hosted by Regis Philbin that was making a splash, and seeing how other shows were leaving their networks or wanting more money to stay, in the 7th season, ABC signed a two year renewal.

Then, in the 8th season, they shuffled the show all over the schedule, the writing slipped and it dropped in the ratings at an alarming speed. ABC limped it through the 8th year and removed it as soon as they could...leaving them with one more year on the deal. The crew made the new season (the 9th) in a virtual vacuum. ABC didn't check on what they were doing, since they didn't even have the show on the schedule. Warner Brothers (the makers of the show) were damn happy to do another season, since they had already been paid, and the hsow is a big hit in syndication, and another season meant they could charge more...

So, now, ABC is burning off the last season in the summer, two episodes at a time, with very little fanfare. Carey himself said that if ABCwanted to, they could show two episodes at once (one on each side of the screen) if that meant they could finish it off faster. He has a deal for a "Whose Line Is It Anyway" style show on the WB, and ABC has a bajillion different plastic surgery shows, so both sides will be happy when it's all done.

The "blogoshpere"

There is a lot of talk about blogs, but most of it is only on blogs. Let's face it, when you are writing on the web about the web you are going to get an echo chamber effect pretty fast. Blogs were the "big story" of this political season, asd every political figure who broke out credited the internet for their notice, as if it hadn't happened before. They seem to forget the Jesse Ventura was the first politican who used mailing lists instead of traditional ads, and with only two maort TV ads, won in Minnesota.

Then in 2000, Bush and the Republicans (through their massive media shills like Limbaugh and Drudge) used the net to spead all sorts of misleading information abotu Gore, turning him into a "liar" so much that it went from Drudge to Limbaugh to Fox to CNN, to the New York Times to the debates without anyone pausing to fact check. Yes, the author of Love Story SAID he based the character on Al Gore. Yes, Al Gore DID have a lot to do with the Love Canal hearings. Yes, Al Gore DID author the legislkation that allowed the creation of the World Wide Web (not the Internet, which he never said).

What is even more fascinating to me are the high profile blogs that begin and then are abandoned. Gary Hart had one when he tested the political waters and then left it behind when it was clear the Dems had a nominee. Bill Maher started one before he got his HBO series, and now that he's back on TV, has left it behind.

Now, Andy Kaufman has one even though he is dead.

Wonder how long it will last?

Or how long this one will last.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004


OK, I think I have the hang of this now.

If you read my site from time to time, you know I participate in National Novel Writing Month every year. Now, I am going to do it on my own so that I can get ahead on some deadlines and pound some ideas out.

So, follow me as I go completely mad. Today, I got 1700 words out (which is about 40 ahead of deadline). With a TiVo to tape my shows, and a couple of big pots of pre-made soup, I'm on my way.

BartCop's most recent rants

I'm testing again (yeah, so I can publish the blog from my browser) so I'll recommend that everyone read BartCop's most recent rants. He's damn funny, points out stories that get forgotten and is more pissed off than I am.

John Kerry intern scandal - Alexandra Polier's account

How would you like it if you got dragged into the battle between the Rebloodlicans and the Democrips? Remember a few months back when it was all whipped up that Kerry was having an affair? It seemed like typical Bush Family Dirty tricks (like when they had people calling voters in South Carolina and telling them that John McCain had had a black baby out of wedlock)

Alexendra Poiler was the "woman" of the story. It wasn't true. And she went hunting to find out where the story came from. And after you read it, you'll need a shower. And you won't trust anyone you know.


I've completely changed the blog and started over. This is a test. Aren't you ever-so glad? Now I can be just as big an assclown as Joshua Micah Marshall and Andrew Sullivan.

I'm looking around for a different template, a way for people to comment, and a reason for this blog to exist, but I think the main reason is for me to do my bitching about how things are bolluxed up in Real Time with lots of links to articles so that I can tell you what I think of them.

Or I can just mock things endlessly in a pointless way like everyone else on the net.

You Decide!