Strange things are happening…

Public service announcement: I realise the season for Hallowe’en house decorating is well over, but as long as the ghosties are still dangling from the bushes I feel it my duty – as a person who’s forced to walk through a sort of animated Sears Wish Book every day from mid-October through the New Year – to point out a couple things:

1. You know that white fuzzy stuff that’s supposed to represent cobwebs? Yes, cobwebs. Those eerily filmy things that hang round neglected corners and sometimes wash over neglected furniture, only not so much now that the owners have been convinced they’re the darlings of the Antique Roadshow, which really explains quite a lot about this season’s displays.
See, the keywords here are eerily and filmy. Merely plumping great wads of fuzzy stuff all over the lawn suggests that neglect has not so much led to gloom and desolation as a cheery sort of occult pillow fight, or perhaps a cosmic Tide commercial. Especially after it rains and the people passing are all ‘ooh, I wonder how they’re going to pick all that up when they’re done’.

2. On the other hand, dying the clumps of fuzzy stuff neon orange? Is truly scary, if only because one fears for the human race if people capable of missing the point that badly are allowed to mingle their genetic material.

Also…I note that ex-Idol screem Jacob Hoggard and his rent-a-band Hedley have burst back onto the scene with a new CD. I have to note this, in much the same way that I have to note a lot of things I am convinced are destroying my brain cell by tiny whimpering cell, because So You Think You Can Dance reruns are apparently exclusive to MuchMusic.
At any rate, Jacob seems to have comfily established himself as the Maroon 5 for the new…next couple weeks or so,at least. One of the disadvantages of being a newly-minted adult is that I’m not sure how long a pop-cult moment lasts anymore. Maybe if he got busy and started a family to neglect.

For now, he’s landed at #3 on the SoundScan charts, and a quick check of sales at our chains indicates he’ll probably be hovering in the comfort zone for a little while yet. Honestly, I should be a lot more scornful of all this than I actually am; I’ve always rather liked good ol’BozoBoi, or at least been unable to convince myself there isn’t more sincere talent there than he cares to bother with. In the meanwhile, it’s most excellent snarky fun watching his fans parrot the ‘I’m so glad he didn’t listen to [insert vaguely oppressive commercial entity here] and stayed true to himself!’

I mean, really now, kids. He used Idol for everything you-all were worth, signed with a Big Huge Mega Corporate Media Giant, on their orders dropped his Best Friends Forever to hook up with a GeneriBand in need of a plausible frontman…and now he’s on his second CD with the same label, right on schedule for the holidays.
And through it all, his fans are still convinced he’s a grassroots campaigner for Right and Truth. Sheez. He’s latched onto the last great marketing angle, in this age of insta-validation – rebels without an attention span. You find yourself truly looking forward to the day he clutches his Grammy and announces he’s tired of all those people who keep telling him to breathe oxygen.

Otherwise, not much to report here @ Shoe Central. I’ve spent most of my writing hours this week absorbed first of all in a talk I had to give for the Theocratic Ministry School (in case you’ve ever wondered if Jehovah’s Witnesses train to be that persistent at your door – well, yes) and then on this ruddy outline for my – well, I’m not sure anymore what you’d call it. Novel, story, something I need to get out of my system before getting down to serious work. It’s a sort of sci-fi adventure tale, you see, based ’round my childhood fascination with superheroes – naturally, I had to create some of my own, to play in my imaginary scenarios.

(No, this was not based on my NFL fan experience. By the time I was sixteen I had discovered the deliriously gorgeous cosmic soap opera that was late-70’s/80’s-era X-Men, and never looked back. In one of those offbeat little pop-cult coincidences, though, there did come forth on the Marvel landscape – for an extremely short time –  the NFL SuperPro. Also, Mr T and the T-Force, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the subject at hand but really, when doesn’t mention of Mr T make a day brighter?)

At any rate, I combined a very imperfect knowledge of genetic engineering with the sort of dark urban landscape that generally fascinates white kids from suburbia – albeit I was canny enough to realise that I’d need some way to play without feeling like a fool poser, hence the landscape got translated to a planetary colony. Six kids, roughly my age – hence, as contemptuous as I was of bright spandex and code names – each with an extraordinary ability. Things got a little quirky. Aliens got involved. As I got older, I started to think about what it would really be like; first, to be a kid with those kinds of powers, then to be stuck in a world like ours. (Except, y’know, on another planet.) So…eventually…it all got kind of interesting. In my own head, anyhow.

Naturally, when I was looking for a fun and exciting challenge for my first foray into serious fiction, I didn’t have far to look. Or so I thought. See the entry on plotting a few below this one for the rest of that story. Buncha exciting enough scenes with no rhyme or reason to hold them together – which may be perfectly acceptable in comix-land, but sure isn’t doing much for yours truly the Serious Novelist.

By dint of sheer stubbornness, though, I’ve battled through to the point where I almost, maybe, have possibly worked things out to the point where they’d be interesting to other people. Will keep at it and report back.


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