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Monthly Archives: December 2010

Off you go, 2010

So. Tomorrow, I have to start remembering to write “2011” on checks and things. This is a pain in the ass. I can barely keep the day’s date and the month straight, without the year changing on me.

But looking back, let’s review a little bit…

2010 was a turning point year for me. I’ve never had one like it. In 2010, I continued a shift which had already been occurring, well away from my science fiction roots and into my horror (and non-genre entirely) areas of interest. I also discovered, as the year progressed, that this area of my life had roots too. What did I read when I was young besides SF, after all, but Goosebumps and Tales from the Crypt? So it was not totally out of the blue.

My writing shifted entirely to handwritten in 2010. This was not on accident. It slowed me down and forced me to focus on the words, on each scene. It meant that I began writing stories I cared about, rather than just flinging things down and getting on to the next project. This year, I’ve written less fiction than ever before…and all of it (even the duds and stinkers) have been better and more useful than any other year, for as long as I’ve been writing.

(they’ve also been the hardest to sell. They aren’t genre, or aren’t clearly genre, and are sometimes long and unwieldy character pieces. I love them, but they’re tough.)

This year, in July, my oldest son, Zach, turned 3. And in March, Nathan was born. I love them both and am glad to have them, but they have wrecked my ability to work (and yet, not really. They make it harder, but that makes the work better when it comes, if you ask me)

2010 was a year I watched better films than ever before. I discovered amazing films like The Devil’s Backbone and Let The Right One In, 28 Days Later, Blair Witch Project. Amazing films. I also discovered Hayao Miyazaki (I had seen Howl’s Moving Castle years ago. This was the year I began watching everything else.)
In 2010, I wrote one short story which is, I think, really, really good. It’s frustrating, in that it seems to have transcended what I can write, so that if I re-read it, I just despair about my later work. That’s fine, though. It happens. I’m really, really proud of it. It’s called The Dark to End All Nights, and I’m awfully proud of it. I said that twice, but so what?
In 2010, I watched some fine TV shows. These are, as usual, the fault of the nifty Kristine Williams . She is unerring in her TV suggestions, and so I always listen. So in 2010, I got to watch Doctor Who, Warehouse 13, Leverage, and Wipeout. All summer shows. Ironically, when fall came around, I’d been watching TV all summer and now needed a break. We stopped watching TV for the most part when the fall season started up. Go figure.
Late in 2010 was also when I learned how to, for the first time ever, really write comic scripts. Thanks to my wife, Renee, I began working with the tremendously talented Nicole Swimley on comic sort of projects. We haven’t done much (to be fair, she has, you know, a JOB and I have KIDS) but it’s been fun so far. I never wrote a script to my satisfaction before, and now it’s like a small wall busted and I get how to do it. It’s wonderful. I have lots of scripts to write in 2011.
And short stories.
And novels.
And articles.
It all fell apart toward the end of 2010. Zach no longer naps during the day, and Nathan is sleeping unsteadily at night (and has suddenly become extremely clingy to me). Lack of sleep and busy holidays meant that I had, for most of November and December, stopped reading, stopped writing, stopped watching anything, stopped SLEEPING (the cause of it all), and completely fell apart at answering e-mails. Really rough. I think it’s on the up-slope, though. Or at least, I hope like hell it is.
My New Year’s Resolutions?
I want to write more. I want to get more done, more often. I have too many ideas in my head, and it frustrates me how slowly I get them out. I want to produce more work. Maybe somewhere in there, I’ll transcend myself a little bit and do something really, really good.
I need to submit more. I just don’t send stuff out enough. In an ideal world, I’d have an agent to whom I gave my stories and who dealt with it. But then, in that world, the agent delivers my stories to publishers riding a unicorn. So I’ll send out my own stories.
I want to read more. I read too little in 2010. It was just too frenetic and out of control a year, good though it was in places. The days of five-books-a-week are long, long, long gone…but I want to read more than I do now.
(and a side note to this, I want to get all my books cataloged somehow. Into Goodreads and then printed off, perhaps. It’s not like the collection is going to get SMALLER, and I’d better get it sorted before it gets to be too much more)
And I’d like to exercise more. I don’t drive, as I’ve said before, and in days of yore, I walked everywhere, all the time, and was in great shape. Now I don’t leave the house, because of the kids (I can’t take them out much, because of the weather, and where we live. There are NO SIDEWALKS and a clusterfuck of a busy road right outside).  so. More walks, more runs, and so on. My metabolism, normally a nuclear reactor, is slowing down (cause of, you know, aging) and I’d like to be in good shape when it quits on me.
And now, my pie-in-the-sky resolutions. Everyone should have a couple that are nearly unbelievable.
1) I want to write and finish a novel I’m happy with and send it out into the world.
and
2) I want to run a marathon.
There we go.
And that’s the end of 2010, at least as far as this blog is concerned. I’m going to go have some more tea now.
“The last pot of tea of 2010, you mean, Pete?”

Hell no. It’s only 4:00 in the afternoon. I’ll have a couple before tonight. But in honor of the year ending, I’m going to make them really excellent end of the year pots of tea.

Love,
Pete
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Posted by on December 31, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

The 15-song-meme

This is an old internet meme, but I just came across it and thought, well, why not. Here’s how it works.

1. take all the songs on your iPod and put them on shuffle.

2. write down the first 15 songs that come up no matter how embarassing

3. post them.

So I did. And this is the list:

1. Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours – Stevie Wonder

2. Nemo – Nightwish

3. You Rock my World – Michael Jackson

4. Dancing in the Night – Rolling Stones

5. Sahara – Nightwish

6. Criminal – Eminem

7. One – Metallica

8. One Day – KT Tunstall

9. Bones – The Killers

10. The Four Horsemen – Metallica

11. Anon: Hodie 2 – Monastic Choir of Saint Benedict

12. Family Portrait – Pink

13. Electric Head: The Ecstasy (part 2) – White Zombie

14. Super-Charger Heaven – White Zombie

15. Dead Babies (live) – Alice Cooper

Not a bad list. Not totally accurate, since I don’t have the entire music library on my iPod, just the stuff that I’m likely to listen to (there is no feasible mood I could be in that would make me listen to Garth Brooks, so he’s not on there, for example).

And there we go. Time permitting, I think I have one more post in me before the New Year, but until then,

I remain,

yr. friend,

Lord Dr. Peter Damien Tzinski (sr.) (esq.) (jr.) (wtf.) III

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

A long time ago, in the early days of Men, the Elves forged rings of power. Nine of…

…no sorry.

A long time ago, when I was a kid, every year for my birthday, my mom would make a pineapple upside-down cake. This is because I love pineapple upside-down cake a lot.

On the whole, I don’t get it anymore, for no particular reason. Today, my sister made one (belatedly for my birthday). I haven’t had one in years and wondered if I’d still like it.

I do. Oh yes.  It was pretty fantastic.

A Christmas wish sent to me had a spelling auto-correct problem. Someone wished me a Prosperous New Year, and somehow it got switched to Preposterous New Year. I liked that a lot. So I wish you all 2011s that are preposterous, hopefully in good ways.

I like listening books, so I’m going to list the books I got for Christmas. I got other things (a new fountain pen! it’s lovely! and ink!) (and TEA! I didn’t even know there WAS such a thing as an Earl Grey White tea) (after fighting a Balrog, Earl Grey returns later as Earl Grey White)

Ahem. Books.

Guns, Germs, and Steel – Jared Diamond

Haunted Legends – short story anthology edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas

The Gun Seller – Hugh Laurie

He Is Legend – short story anthology edited by Christopher Conlon

Best New Horror 15 – edited by Stephen Jones

A Century of Horror, 1970-1979 – edited by David Drake

The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes – Bill Watterson

The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes – Bill Watterson

Dracula – Bram Stoker (I already own a couple copies, but this one is a gorgeous edition)

Sandman: The Kindly Ones – Neil Gaiman

I’m probably forgetting something, but that sounds right enough. Other lovely things that arrived in the house were a trio of Neil Gaiman-written kids books, Doctor Who series 5, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Brutal Legend, and stuff stuff stuff.

And now I’m going to go be exhausted, but happy, and have a cuppa tea.

Oh, the cup of tea will be had in a scarily heavy mug from Anthropologie which has a big letter P on it and is lovely. My sister got me that, with a bag of loose leaf Earl Grey White inside. So yes.

Right.

May you have a preposterous new year.

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Freakshow, baby

While I’m ranting about stuff, let’s talk about some TV channels. A&E, TLC, Bravo, Animal Planet, and so on. Those sort of channels.

They drive me nuts. They are entirely filled with programming which can, essentially, be translated into “omigawwwwd  lookit these FREAKS can you believe this??”

Short people! People with too many kids! People with too much body weight, too much stuff in their house, too many drugs in their system, too many animals. Pick something, and there’s a show about it.

And my problem isn’t actually with these people. These people have issues and they need to be adressed…it’s with the networks. It’s creepy and trashy and insulting, the freakshow attitude — straight out of an old carnival, complete with the moaning, thrashing geek in the cage — rather than, say, examining and considering these people. It’s pure ego and freakshow, and it pisses me off.

It’s tabloid garbage, it’s Jerry Springer material. It’s mean-spirited and disgusting and it drives me up the fuckin’ wall. If it has to be on TV, it would be done as a thoughtful examination of the causation and solution to these problems. And not just “dis fat man?? he got lots of dogs!! omigawwwd! dis girl had a baby when she was way young dat hella tuff yo!”

It’s insulting, to the people who have these myriad problems in real life, to the people who try to help them, and to the viewers sitting at home. They should be watching better. I don’t see that as elitist even remotely. It’s like someone saying “you shouldn’t have to eat that. You should be able to eat THIS, this amazing dish. You’d love it and it would be better for you. I’d love for you to be eating this.”

Instead, the channels shovel creepy shit.

And you can learn all about my views on this and more matters on my new show on TLC when I plan to travel the country on a unicycle, shooting heroin into my eyeballs and dealing with my lingering issues with pogonophobia while smacking people who had made these TV shows with a baseball bat.

Or, possibly, I’ll drink some tea, bitch on an internet blog, and then get on with my day. I might do that instead.

It’s not chickening out. I mean, this is a really good pot of mango black tea. I’m just saying.

[one wee edit done, to fix a sentence toward the end for clarity. high ho.]

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

“Now I’m not a racist or anything but…”

“[insert snide, ignorant, appallingly racist remark.]”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, more or less, I’d be wealthy enough to walk around with a baseball bat, smacking people in the head and then pay off my bail.

Ignorant racist remarks drive me nuts. I don’t care who they’re about. Whether it’s against Muslims, Arabs, Jews, or the Minnesota-particulars, the Somalians and the Haitians (because we have a huge community of Somali immigrants in Minnesota and of course, dontcherknow, they’re just over here lazing about not learning our language not working can’t drive they don’t smell like proper Minnesotans do, etc. The nice people saying these things never consider that, hm, possibly why they don’t “go back where they came from” is they aren’t immigrants, they’re refugees.)

I have a second sore spot for racism against Haitians, because it’s huge, blatant, accepted, and really not noticed. It puts me up the wall, the portrayal of Voodoo in pop culture. Then again, it’s rarely on purpose, and I think intent is as important as action.

(I’m about to try and say everything I think and am infuriated about in the next comic I hope to write, which has a cranky old Voodun priestess in it.)

All of this cranky ranting is brought on by a really wonderful article over at Cranked. Where they are not only funny, they’re frequently razor-sharp.

5 Ridiculous Things You Probably Believe About Islam

Go read. It’s a wonderful article.

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Ellison Wonderland

I adore Harlan Ellison, for a list of reasons that would turn this blog post into a long, long ruminative essay. And I love watching his interviews, because he’s funny and sharp and nearly always right.

But I wanted to share one specific moment, which always leaves me grinning.

Fast forward to the 5:00 mark. Watch to the end of the clip.

I just love it. It leaves me grinning every time.

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Me and my dead trees

These days, it is more or less impossible to go out to eat with my parents without hearing about eBooks.

It’s usually my fault. Because I adore books so much, I inevitably mention what I’m reading, and we get to talking books a little. Always fine, but they are obsessed with eBooks, so that comes up constantly. They are continually baffled why I continue to buy filthy paper books and don’t buy glorious ebooks for all my reading needs.

e.g., I mentioned wanted badly to read the new Mark Twain biography, and they looked baffled. “Can’t you just download it?” they said. Why on earth hadn’t I just bought the ebook???? What possible reason could be keeping me back?

I smile and pass it off with a joke.

Here’s the friggin’ reason.

I don’t mind eBooks in the slightest. But I am acutely and constantly aware of two things.

1) I have shit on floppy discs, shit archived in old e-mail addresses which, without some serious excavation and stepping it up through multiple computers, I am never going to see again in any ungarbled form. And that’s from LESS THAN TEN YEARS AGO.

2) Among my collection, among my old books, I have, four example, three volumes of Guy de Maupassant short stories, which are close to A HUNDRED YEARS OLD.

I can access those books as well as I can access, say, the copy of Let The Right One In which I bought two days ago. Flip open the cover, there’s my book.

This is why I prefer BOOKS. Paper books. I love books, and I love my book collection, and don’t feel like having half of it vanish or corrupt because I upgrade computers, or Apple stops selling and supporting books, or Google gives up on that experiment, or whatever happens.

Does this mean I’m anti-ebook? It does seem that one cannot say a negative word about technology without being a luddite and anti-technology, which is a rubbish idea.

As it happens, I’m fine with ebooks. My wife is getting her reading done these days with eBooks, on her iPhone and iPad. That’s fine by me. She’s reading HORNS, a book she bought digitally, which we bought when it first came out in hardcover.

To me, this is the equivalent of having a hardcover book, but wanting a paperback copy since you read it so much and don’t want to destroy the hardcover. I’ve got multiple editions of some books. This is the same thing. In that sense, fine and dandy. If we lose the ebook or I drop the paperback in the bath, it’s a shame, but it’s not an utter loss.

I want my book collection to perhaps outlast me. Computers are lovely and wonderful, but they are truly of the moment. I don’t mean they’re a fad that’s going to go away, I mean they function in the moment, and then they move on and function in the next moment. They are brilliant for social networking, in that they are of the moment the way a good conversation is. They are fine and lovely.

And yet, I want my books printed on paper and bound together and on my shelf.

How inexplicable.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2010 in Uncategorized