The Blog of Chloë and Pete  

Two characters (that would be Chloë and Pete) looking for love, safety, and Krispy Kremes. A book looking for readers and a publisher. An author (Jessica) looking for an agent, a life, and a region-free DVD player.

email: jessica_lynn -at- watchmail.com

About Me 23.07.02

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God bless Jennifer Weiner for writing this. Most of it I'd heard before, which was reassuring in its own way.

My roommate, as I've mentioned before, works for a literary agency here in New York; her boss has at least three clients whose names, when being dropped, impressed me greatly, and my roommate herself is now beginning to take on clients on her own. She has made it clear she doesn't want to look at my book (it's not really in her field anyway). Every weekend she brings home several manuscripts, which she diligently reads. Most of the ones she brings home -- i.e. the ones she's going to carefully look over and evaluate -- are not unsolicited; either they're new manuscripts from existing clients, or her boss has specifically requested it. From the little she's talked about her job, a goodly number of unsolicited manuscripts arrive at her office daily, and 95% of those don't get more than a minute or two of her time. Clearly, once upon a time the same thing happened at a different office, only that day a manuscript called Good in Bed happened to be in that slush pile, and some agent actually took the time to read past the cover letter, and now Jennifer Weiner, bless her, has a seven-figure contract.

And no, I'm not being sarcastic. Good in Bed is definitely worth a read.

That said, my understanding of the publishing industry is that the two biggest obstacles between me and a publisher are (a) all those other manuscripts in the slush pile and (b) more importantly, my inability to sum up my book in a single easy-to-follow sentence. (People who ask me, "What's it about?" normally get about half a minute's worth of "Umm . . . " followed by something like, "It's about this girl who's just out of college, and she meets her little brother's ex-best friend, and they both have things to work out, and there's sex and confusion and a gun and a minor-league hockey game . . . " Yeah, that's compelling.) I haven't even tried writing cover letters for the book yet. Which is partly shock at the idea that something I wrote might actually be marketable, and insecurity, and partly the convolutions of the plot. Weiner says she went to the bookstore and tried to find out the agents for books similar to Good in Bed. Anyone know of any books similar to a quasi-coming-of-age story featuring a Chinese-American native Southerner who resents her job and her mother's new Subei ren boyfriend and a suicidal teenager who watches far too much Revolutionary Girl Utena and mourns the half-elven chaotic neutral mage he played for three years? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? . . .

Sigh. One of my mother's college roommates is a successful novelist in her own right; she's been encouraging and sweet the few times I've met her. I may solicit her advice soon. In the meantime, it is, admittedly, easier to blog than to actually deal with that big hulking manuscript sitting in a green binder on the floor of my bedroom.



  posted by Jessica @ 16:16 |


28.6.02  

 

Apparently a minor-league hockey team set to come to Gwinnett County is looking for a name. One of the finalists is the Maulers. Sounds nice and intimidating and hockey-ish, right? But keep in mind the region in which people would be talking about the hometown Maulers.

As in, it'll sound more like "Mallers."

As in, people who go to Gwinnett Place Mall and the Mall of Georgia.

This has not escaped the notice of team officials. And why not? It's certainly more applicable than the Gwinnett Beavers, however much it might amuse some fans to get tickets to the Beavers vs. Whoopee game.

Gwinnett Maulers. I love it. Their mascot will be an angry SUV. Their defensive line will be known as Pleasanthill Road. Instead of hot dogs and beer, the stadium will serve Auntie Anne's pretzels and smoothies, and instead of a Zamboni, between periods senior citizens in white Keds will come out and walk the ice flat.

In other Atlanta news, happy birthday-in-advance to Hannah Beth, who turns 26 on Sunday. You can go give her birthday love in the shiny new forum.



  posted by Jessica @ 13:21 |



 

M says that the title of the Jacky Cheung song I was listening to translates as "Hide and Seek." Which is not what I would have guessed at all.

Am about to add three new blogs to the list on the left, and then there will be work to do.



  posted by Jessica @ 11:39 |



 

Oh, Pamie. We are so proud of you, girl.

Note to Welch and Layne: when you get this Examiner project of yours off the ground, go give Pamie a call. She's in L.A. She's a fantastic writer, and a soon-to-be-published author. She's got newspaper experience (ask her ex-co-worker at the Austin-American Statesman) and she's very, very funny, as demonstrated here, here, here, here, and my personal favorite, here. So, clearly she's also got a facile touch with words, and can knock a deadline out of the park. And you'll get a lot of subscribers describing themselves as "squishy." Which may not be the demographic you're looking to sell to advertisers, but in the newspaper business, who's picky?



  posted by Jessica @ 09:52 |



 

Finally, finally, finally a review of Champion! From Korean film expert Darcy Paquet, no less. He gives it a thumbs-up and compares it more to Failan than to Friend -- good signs.

In other good news, my co-worker temporarily in London emailed me this morning to say she should be buying me a copy of the Tartan NTSC Battle Royale this afternoon. Pardon me while I do the Dance of DVD-Acquiring Joy. L probably has first dibs on watching it with me; Asparagirl can be second, if she's up for blood, exploding collars, and subtle commentary on Japanese militarism.



  posted by Jessica @ 12:40 |


27.6.02  

 

I said a couple weeks ago that I was trying not to talk smack about Atlanta's Creative Loafing. And so I won't. However, other, less genteel bloggers are perfectly welcome to.

For example, others might take a look at this week's cover image -- for a story about the building of the Northern Arc highway -- and wonder if, say, Governor Roy Barnes is shooting opponents. Or tanks are running through the streets of Atlanta. Or thousands of people are fearing for their lives after daring to publish an anti-Northern Arc opinion. The answer to all of which is no.

And those other bloggers might then come to some conclusions involving the words "crass" and "inappropriate" and "Shut UP, Creative Loafing." But in true Southern passive-aggressiveness, I merely give you the link.



  posted by Jessica @ 12:04 |



 

Dang. Vouchers yes, random drug-testing for students also yes, by a 5-4 margin on both counts. The majority for the vouchers decisions was Rehnquist, O'Connor, Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas -- no surprises there; I would assume the same five voted for random tests.

I haven't been following the drug-testing case closely enough to know the issues involved -- feel free to send me links -- but on their face, wouldn't the two rulings involve some sort of contradiction? If you're that concerned about kids using drugs, wouldn't you want to limit their access to private schools that aren't required to test? It seems to add up to a "You're free to leave, and if you stay it's your own fault, and we can impose restrictions on you as we see fit" attitude. Which worries me somewhat. There are always going to be students who, for one reason or another, can't take advantage of the voucher program, just like there will always be students with absent-minded or too-self-centered parents; one possible negative social (not legal) consequence of the introduction of vouchers will be that students who don't use vouchers will be assumed to be choosing their (possibly inferior) public school, when it's not necessarily their choice to make, especially before high school. (A dissatisfied high school student could always drop out.)

I think (again, my very facile analysis) the vouchers decision was the right one; I have some serious doubts about the drug-testing one. I know I would've been resentful, and my parents (both lawyers) indignant, if I'd had to pee in a cup prior to joining Yearbook my senior year in high school. Granted, it could work as a disincentive -- I've heard the "I can't smoke pot tonight, I may have to take a drug test next week" statement before. But it does smack slightly of Evil Teenagers scapegoating.

Okay, I'm wrong -- the 5-4 majority on the drug test decision was Thomas, Rhenquist, Scalia, Kennedy and Breyer. Interesting. Here's Dahlia Lithwick's recap of oral arguments for Slate. Scalia apparently wants to test "every kid in every high school in the U.S.," according to her. I once wrote a paper for a Constitutional Law class arguing in favor of a Scalia decision (about whether a cross burning on a black family's lawn constituted "free speech"; he said it did), but clearly we're on opposite sides of the fence here. Eugene Volokh has the links to the opinions for all cases decided today.

My initial reaction was that Joanne would be having a champagne breakfast this morning (since she's in California) to celebrate. But I'm not sure.



  posted by Jessica @ 11:45 |



 

Beta Reader D says that, actually, Leon Wieseltier's 1995 bodyslam of Cornel West wins the Best New Republic Book Review Smackdown Ever award. I say (still) that Beta Reader D ought to get his own blog. There's a whole lot of libertarian bloggers out there, and not as many non-libertarian right-wing blogs. I happen to know that D has his own website, which I haven't linked to because it contains his real name, pictures of him and Mrs. D, etc., and I don't think he actually ever signed up for such exposure.

And Beta Reader J deserves a platform solely for his film reviews. A mere excerpt from his take on Butterfly and Sword:

Donnie Yen is charming as always, but doesn't get a lot to do. Which is kind of odd since this was made right after Iron Monkey I think, in which he established himself as a star. But since only porn actors bounce from film to film more than kung fu artists, maybe that isn't surprising. He also has the worst hair ever. But, again, the problem is that he just randomly appears and disappears. It's almost strange -- he is Deus ex Machina Sifu. "Oh no, the house is on fire!" (Donnie flies in and resuces the girl even though he wasn't even in that scene . . . ) "Oh no, the dead body is returning to fight!" (Enter Donnie who was just like 10 miles off a minute ago.) And his secret love for Michelle Yeoh is left unresolved at the end . . . what's with that?????? No one of either gender or any sexual orientation with any sex drive at all could not wish for a Michelle Yeoh/Donnie Yen sex scene . . .

He plans to watch Peking Opera Blues next. No sex scenes in that either, sadly, though there is a scene with Cherie Cheung, Brigitte Lin, and Sally Yeh hanging out in lacy white nightgowns.

Meanwhile, both Asparagirl and Justin Sodano linked to my long Buffy post. Amusingly enough, nobody emailed me about the post (except Justin himself, to tell me he linked to it -- thanks, Justin), but people showed up in the comments sections of both their websites to argue my point. Which proves my theory that people find it easier to criticize weblog posts through comments sections than they do over email -- simply the ease of use, I think, and the speed of response; also, someone who has comments available is clearly looking for feedback.

I don't have one (yet) just because I know I'll want to respond to every single comment, and I just don't have the time. But you're always free to email me. Even if you disagree. Really.



  posted by Jessica @ 10:56 |



 

Once again, no smackdown like a smackdown in The New Republic's book review section: Dale Peck declares Rick Moody "the worst writer of his generation."

The all-time greatest TNR book review smackdown was Lee Siegel's masterful bitch-slapping of Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible. I was smart enough to Xerox it in my college library at the time (1998, I think), because it's not online now. And that's a shame.



  posted by Jessica @ 14:04 |


26.6.02  

 

New York life, 2002:

Co-worker: Did you hear those sirens? Should we be worried? (We had all heard a very loud "boom" during lunch.)
Me: (rapidly checking CNN and NY1's sites) I don't know.
Co-worker: I won't worry. Of course not.
Me: We can always check NY1 later. (looks out window) Dude, it's raining.
Co-worker: Really?
Me: It was a thunderclap we heard.
Co-worker: (sees downpour; in a mixture of relief and frustration) Arrrrrghh.



  posted by Jessica @ 13:45 |



 

About this '80s box set that everyone's talking about: I'm not sure why. It's a pretty scattershot compilation, for one. Off the top of my head, where's "Blue Monday"? Where's "Rock Me Amadeus"? "Closer to Fine"? They have one Duran Duran song, which is just silly, and no R.E.M., which I'm going to assume was a rights issue, because to have an '80s compilation without "It's the End of the World (As We Know It)," "Stand," or "Orange Crush" is even sillier. At least they have "Tainted Love," though I suspect that song has become better-known since its release than it was at the time.

And their one-cut-by-the-artist choices can be strange: "Lies" instead of "Hold Me Now" or "Doctor, Doctor" for the Thompson Twins; "Let's Go to Bed" instead of "Just Like Heaven" for the Cure; "Venus" and not "Cruel Summer" for Bananarama. (And some, admittedly, are right: if you are going to limit yourself to one Duran Duran song, it might as well be "Hungry Like the Wolf"; "Don't You Want Me" and not "Human" for the Human League; "Only in My Dreams" for Debbie Gibson.) And what's with the lack of Guns 'n' Roses? Every boy in fifth grade with me knew "Paradise City" by heart. Or Poison, for that matter. I remember sitting around with a bunch of friends my senior year in college, and a couple had guitars, and the sing-along included "Every Rose Has Its Thorn."

There are other '80s compilations available -- not seven discs, maybe, but I remember seeing a really neat three-disc set that concentrated more heavily on the New Wave early part of the decade and looked like great fun. Then there's the "Rock of the '80s" series, which defines "rock" pretty loosely: on my one CD I have "Come on Eileen," the Kinks' "Good Girls Don't," a novelty song about the Vietnam War, and "In a Big Country," a very underrated song.

The Slate writers do give the '80s credit for musical diversity, which it sorely needs: people tend to emphasize the trappings of the decade -- the bad fashion, mostly -- and not notice that some beautiful songs emerged. We're currently in the process of separating the wheat from the chaff of '80s music (while keeping both the wheat and the chaff of the '70s -- but that's my bias) and the same thing will eventually happen to our current post-grunge drought.

The chief complaint about current music is that the pop is too manufactured, the rap is too materialistic, and the rock is too whiny. The last point, hell yeah. "You Remind Me" should never never ever have been allowed to chart. (I blame Fred Durst.) But rap clearly has its share of interesting things going on -- Missy Elliott, OutKast, the Roots -- and current pop, I suspect, will have more staying power than we're currently giving it credit for, especially *NSYNC (back in 2000, when I had my car, I unabashedly stopped changing the channel and sang along whenever "Bye Bye Bye" or "It's Gonna Be Me" came on) and Mandy Moore.

Yes, Mandy Moore. I was appalled as anyone by "Candy" (the girl is fourteen, and she's practically blowing the camera!), but have you seen the video for "In My Pocket"? It's Orientalist brilliance. I stood with my jaw gaping in the gym the first time I saw it. It's fire and half-naked boys and wise Kali-esque figures and Mandy Moore casting herself as Turandot. If her management continues to make wise decisions (since, in retrospect, A Walk to Remember did a lot more for her than Crossroads did for Britney Spears) I predict the 23-year-olds of 2022 will own Mandy Moore CDs the same way I have Duran Duran's Greatest Hits now.

So: know your '80s. And if you're a cutesy female folk singer with a guitar, hanging out in Harvard Square, don't try to cover "Just Like Heaven." Really. Just don't.

And one last note to Slate -- next time you have a discussion of '80s pop culture, call Dwanollah. She's the smartest '80s fangirl you'll find.



  posted by Jessica @ 12:30 |



 

Hashai is back up. It is otherwise known as the online journal (with pretty pretty pictures) of the lovely Anna Beth, the best thing to come out of Louisiana since A Confederacy of Dunces. Give her great amounts of love and cross your fingers that she will be heavy with child sometime in the near future.

My inbox was heavy with communications this morning. First, M has promised me access to his many Jacky Cheung mp3s, which is good, since the CD I've been listening to is borrowed and L (my friend here, not the one in Boston) wants it back. Second, Beta Reader D shows why he should have a blog of his own, in response to my earlier post on men in college:

The suspects I prefer:
1) Once you let a woman do something, men don't want to do it anymore. This now includes education, culture, etc.: all signs of being gay, dontcha know? Real men don't think. Real men don't have self-discipline. Real men don't study. Yadda yadda yadda.
2) Self-esteem correlates inversely with performance according to the studies I love and cherish. Women -- especially white women -- always think they're lousy; naturally, they are oodles more competent than everybody else. The natural result follows.
3) Getting back to sports at Swarthmore, as I think I said at the time, the admissions office now explicitly regards athletics as affirmative action for men.
4) I favor cultural brainwashing of boys, telling them to get off their
asses and study. If that doesn't work, long live the female majority in college!

(D, if you don't like me quoting your posts, let me know.)

Third, the blog has officially done the book some good. There's a character in the book who decides to join the Army and gets sent to Korea. Now, I know next to nothing about the military, as some of my beta readers have already found out; but look who emailed me about my soccer predictions -- Rafael, who, when not blogging, is busy being an Army sergeant in Korea. He has graciously agreed to fact-check my ass in regards to all things military-in-Korea. Hooray! Go visit him -- if his site is down, here's a backup -- and thank him for his part in keeping you and yours safe to consume massive quantities, and for making my book better.

Finally, I had a bit of spam, but every other email address on the spam list was a well-known blogger -- Layne, Suman Palit, Ken Goldstein, the Volokhs, et cetera. Apparently there's at least one person out there who thinks I'm one of the big boys. Which is not really true -- this blog has a limited number of topics, and thus will probably get a more limited audience -- but very flattering nonetheless.




  posted by Jessica @ 10:09 |



 

Gorgeous newlyweds!



  posted by Jessica @ 18:01 |


25.6.02  

 

Okay, I have to make this quick, since I need to do work, really I do.

On the question of whether anti-male attitudes on campus have led to falling numbers of male enrollment: I'm ambivalent about the former (because there is still quite a bit of diversity in higher education -- attitudes toward men at Swarthmore, at Central Connecticut State, and at Florida A&M may well be three different things) and unconvinced that it leads to the latter.

First of all, most of the anti-male attitude doesn't show up until you actually get to college: unless there are some strange things going on in interviews that I don't know of, colleges aren't discouraging men from applying (probably the opposite, as most of them prefer a 50-50 split). So if we found a higher percentage of men getting to campus and then dropping out, that would be more convincing evidence of the harm of the anti-male bias than simply declining enrollment. (The article that prompted all the blogging looks at graduation rates but not enrollment rates or dropout rates.) Second, if it is a question of political correctness, then one would expect the trend to be slower at campuses that are less politically correct -- Pepperdine, for example, ought to be balanced. And it's not: for fall 2000, the enrollment was 59% female, 41% male. Hillsdale, on the other hand, seems to be closer to 50-50, according to its US News & World Report information, although it should be noted that for the class entering in fall 2000 Hillsdale accepted considerably more women than men.

The other question I would ask is if male numbers are declining as a whole, and not simply the ratios. It could be that we're seeing the same number of men enrolled, and women are getting the additional spaces. The thing to look for is not the male-female ratio at any one school but the overall percentage of men in college of the number of men as a whole.

But it may be a problem that begins at the high school level or below, and thus would be more complicated -- lack of college-enrolled father figures, economic decisions, anti-male sentiment at the junior high/high school level, which could be different from anti-male sentiment at the college level -- than Instapundit implies.

The Post article closes on this disturbing the-women-won't-find-good-men note. I would like to think that female college graduates and male non-college graduates (or not-yet college graduates) can still make happy marriages -- for purely selfish reasons, as my boyfriend, who turned 31 this past April, will start at Georgia State this fall as a junior.

Work now. Work now. Really . . .

(I was supposed to see Asparagirl tonight, but there's a Work Thing that I have to at least show up at. Maybe I can escape early. Asp? . . . )



  posted by Jessica @ 18:00 |



 

My project is done. Whew! Well, the first part is done, at any rate. Still some things to do.

But now I can get to that Buffy post I promised you. Fair warning first: it will cover up to the end of Season 6. If you haven’t gotten that far, and you don’t want spoilers, you might want to avoid this one. Also, I am an admitted Amberholic and generally highly skeptical of gun-control laws. So take this argument with the appropriate grains of salt.

Kim linked to this recap of a recent Buffy panel at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (warning: season 7 spoilers in the link!). (You may think I'm overdoing it, but some Buffy fans have to keep to a very strict spoiler-free diet.) The person at the panel mentioned some intriguing things Joss Whedon, Buffy's creator and Grand Poobah, said. Specifically:

Joss said they planned from the beginning of the season to kill Tara by shooting her with a gun. He points out they intentionally planted two lines (ep 4 and 15 I think he said) where Buffy says guns are bad (paraphrasing that). In earlier seasons, Angel and Buffy died in 'fantasy' ways. Their love was a fantasy and even though their separation and loss hurt, it hurt in a safe way, because it was a fantasy. This season, Joss wanted everything to hurt in a REAL way. So no easy safe magical death. A very real, very ugly death in a real world way. And the real ugly pain that caused (to the characters and the audience).

Now, unlike Justin Sodano, I wasn’t too happy with Season 6, especially the Willow/Tara arc. To sum it up for the non-watchers: Willow and Tara were Witches in Schmoopy Lesbian Love, Willow started using magic inappropriately and refusing to stop when others warned her, Tara left her, Willow went off the magic, they reunited, Tara was killed by a bullet through the heart, Willow went nuts and tried to destroy the world in her grief.

Now, if you want a detailed explanation of why many Buffy watchers didn't think this worked well, the good people here will be able to tell you (especially in the "Deep Bitterness Society" thread). Some critics were offended because the show stooped to a cliché in making the happy lesbian relationship end in melodramatic violence. But seeing as how almost every relationship in Buffy ends in melodramatic violence or abject misery, that wasn't my chief criticism. My usual argument was that the plotting was all off. Basically, it seemed that Tara was being killed just to give Willow an excuse to become this season's Big Bad, when such an excuse wasn't necessary: there had been plenty of allusions, both in the early part of Season 6 and in previous seasons, to a darker side of Willow. The entire setup of Tara's death -- the fact that she was accidentally killed (the villain was trying to kill Buffy and fired all over the place) by a bullet improbably coming through the window, and that she went from 60 to zero so quickly -- struck me as slipshod from a show that typically thinks through all its plot implications. I originally thought that the first half of season 6 had been designed towards a different finale, and that halfway through the writers, for whatever reason, had to change gears.

I mean, really: by the time "Seeing Red" aired, Willow had been able to communicate telepathically, restore a brain-sucked Tara to good mental health, and raise Buffy from the dead. And then Tara gets shot and Willow turns into a blubbering idiot. The idea that she wouldn't even try to summon some magical power and undo the damage done by the bullet, and only start asking for not-of-this-world help after Tara had officially shuffled off to heavenly Buffalo -- again, it felt poorly plotted and poorly executed to me, and I was disappointed.

But it wasn't a last-minute plot twist, and it wasn't a homophobic strike, apparently. It was to get the message across that people sometimes die sudden, sad and irrevocable deaths, leaving their loved ones devastated. Gee, that sounds oddly familiar to me -- because it had been done one season earlier, and much more beautifully and skillfully, in "The Body," the episode where Buffy finds her mother dead of a brain aneurysm. So I guess the twist on Tara's death was that people sometimes die sudden, sad and irrevocable deaths by guns. Because Guns Are Bad.

And thus we get to the heart of the problem. The show fell victim not to the Dead Lesbian Cliché or to a pregnant Marti Noxon or to actor machinations, but to Joss Whedon's apparent desire to make a very tired and silly political point. Demons, monsters, goddesses -- those all can be faced and defeated, but guns? Might as well roll over, children. There's no hope. Guns Are Bad.

And in order to shoehorn Guns Are Bad, No Really, Worse than Demons, Etc., into the Buffyverse (which was doing just fine with Buffy dismissing guns as useless or likely to backfire, thank you), we had to lose out on the promising Willow-as-power-tripping-magic-abuser storyline, which was turned (via "Wrecked," my candidate for Worst Episode Ever) into an after-school special; we had to lose one of the few characters who didn't make many of the viewers want to scream at the TV every episode ("Shut UP, Xander/Dawn/Spike!"); and we got, in the end, a diminished show. And the fans didn't come away with Guns Are Bad: they came away with, "Damn, Buffy used to be so good, and it sucks now." Because they're generally too smart to blame Tara's death on the gun, as opposed to the writers.

So, remember, aspiring screenwriters, wherever you might be: Guns don't kill people. Bad writing kills people. And viewers.



  posted by Jessica @ 16:09 |



 

Speaking of fanfic: Best. Buffy. Smut. Parody. Ever. (Or would that be best Buffy parody smut?) It's called "Once More, All Naked, All Gay," and it's on this site, which has a whole bunch of very, very funny parody fics.

I'm hoping to write more later today, but it will probably only be of interest to longtime Buffy watchers. And possibly the Volokhs. And if you're going spoiler-free and not caught up through the end of Season 6, it will not be for you.

Speaking of the Volokhs, while I go back to work: has none of the horny girl-watching bloggers noticed that Volokh co-conspirator Michelle Boardman is very pretty? How can Pej resist a fellow Chicago alum? Maybe he's just practicing, honing his flirting skills among those of us on the other side of the country.

And speaking of lovely female bloggers, Emily Jones has alerted me to copies of Battle Royale up for sale on eBay. I took a look around and it seems to be mostly the original Japanese release, not the later special release or the Tartan NTSC release that I asked a co-worker in London to buy for me. (I'm normally not that picky about which DVD I get. Just about this one movie. Oh, and I want the Spectrum release of Attack the Gas Station!, not the Mei Ah version, which is serviceable but dark and bare-bones. And my birthday is August 22. So you know.)

And one final note: while I was away, original anti-soccer-screeder Layne revealed his essential secure manliness by watching World Cup soccer. Which surprises me not a bit.



  posted by Jessica @ 12:27 |



 

Ten Little Peeves About Fanfic, almost all of which can easily be applied to fiction writing in general. Grammar is your friend. Synonyms for "said" are, on the average, not. And so on. Go read -- it's useful, and pretty damn funny.

The author has some fanfic recommendations, including a Buffy/Spike Season Noir that looks good.

Not that I should read it at work, of course. Ahem.



  posted by Jessica @ 16:16 |


24.6.02  

 

Champion is apparently being released Friday in Korea. This comes from CineClick Asia, and I see no reason to doubt them.

Y'all, it doesn't even matter to me how good the movie is, or isn't. This is the movie that offers the promise of scene after scene of a buff, shirtless Yu O-sung. This could potentially be the greatest contribution to the world supply of eye candy since Angelina Jolie was cast in Gia or Michael Rosenbaum and Tom Welling in Smallville.

Check out the CineClick Asia page for the film. The Flash intro is incredibly, irritatingly slow, but it features a buff, shirtless Yu O-sung with Guns 'n' Roses as musical backdrop.

I don't know about you, but my day just got a whole lot better.



  posted by Jessica @ 12:06 |



 

Saturday night I told Alastair, who is one of my beta readers (and the only one using a Mac, for what it's worth), that the book had too much straight sex and not enough of any other kind. He reassured me that straight sex is a good thing, too, but I didn't feel much better, because I hadn't done a good job of explaining my dissatisfaction.

Then he, L, and I watched Velvet Goldmine. It was a slightly symbolic gesture, since there had been a Velvet Goldmine screening among our small social group at the tail end of senior year, and the personal wars going down between various people in the audience were more important at the time than the movie itself; this time we could just drink our White Russians and relax.

Afterwards I said to them (L was a beta reader for my first book): that was what is missing from the current draft of The Adventures of Chloë and Pete. I had a hard time conveying what that was, but I'll try and sum it up: desire -- not necessarily exclusively homosexual or homoerotic desire, but desire that is overwhelming in its color and need: painful, yet comforting in its intensity. It sharpens your senses, creates a small pit of lava in your gut, and slows down time whenever the object of your desire is in your view. It's adolescent in its origins, yet it's worst when you're no longer an adolescent, aware of how ridiculous you look -- and how sweet such intensity is, because you know what it's like to be in love without such desire. It's essentially immature, probably short-lived, and entirely necessary.

And it's not in the damn book.

I had a couple more chapter requests from beta readers in my inbox this morning, and for a moment I wanted to tell them no, because they're getting a shell of a book. The color and sweetness and devastation of that particular kind of desire is lurking in the background when it ought to be out front and center in full glorious force. And there's no way they could read my mind and say oh -- that's what's missing.

This is what I write about. Not the Middle East crisis, because I don't see what I can contribute to that debate right now. Not my personal life, because that's actually going remarkably smoothly. Not about politics or business, because that's what I'm supposed to tackle at my day job. And not crap between various bloggers, because frankly, if I wade into that cesspool I'll drown post-haste. I'm self-centered. I wrote a book. It's more like Book 95, with plug-and-pray technology, and the readers are waiting patiently for the next release, and I need to tell them what the bugs are. You can go ahead and write me and tell me that I'm self-centered and wasting good bandwidth, and I will award you Obvious Points.

I did mention that whole "bad mood" thing, right?

I switched the music to "Butterfly", or at least the Dance Dance Revolution version that was current about a year ago. (2nd Mix, I think.) Because animé and J-pop and cute sweaty boys wishing they were girls, and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Ewan McGregor kissing as the camera circles them slowly, and desire, and the book -- they're all tied up together.



  posted by Jessica @ 11:46 |



 

Bad night last night, not a good day at work today, et cetera et cetera. The readers of my old journal can tell you how moody I can get. Leave it be.

But one request: can anyone link me to a site that translates Jacky Cheung lyrics into English? Specifically I'm looking for the lyrics to the ninth track on this album:

(Image taken without permission from Jacky Cheung Data Station, which is mostly in Japanese. Apologies to the webmaster.)

It's upbeat and weirdly quasi-Middle Eastern, and it briefly samples Enigma's "Return to Innocence" after the first chorus. And I'm very curious as to what, exactly, Jacky is saying as he cheers me up.



  posted by Jessica @ 09:40 |



 

First of all: Joanne Jacobs rocks the house. Tell her I sent you.

I'm not officially "back" yet. I'm in Boston, at Chez Alastair, having just eaten a yummy eggplant dish prepared by L. She has settled in Boston and found a wonderful job, and it is very good to see her again. Three years was way too long to go between nights of hanging out with her guitar and Alastair's Stephin Merritt collection and Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I'm happy and relaxed, which is a lovely thing.

Tomorrow will be more Bostonia and Monday will be lots of work and other things (such as cleaning my room from top to bottom so that my roommate can start showing it to people who answer her ad). Probably not back 'til Tuesday at the earliest.

But y'all will be okay. Go give some love to Pejman, as the man is a love sponge, and I hear he's gotten some knocks lately.



  posted by Jessica @ 20:24 |


22.6.02  

 

I'm going to be out of town -- and probably not blogging -- for the rest of the week. I will be shagging my boyfriend at great length, and when I return I will tell you, in immense and precise detail, the positions assumed, the toys used, the knots tied, the passages from The Story of O read out loud, the number of times the neighbors yelled at us to keep it down!, the damage done to the bed, the fruit squished, the names of the two others involved, the youth organization to which they belong . . .

Kidding, wankers. Who do you think I am, anyway? I'm going to a conference and then to Boston to visit friends. If you're in Boston, and you're my friend, either email me or call my cell phone so we can hook up this weekend. Hopefully I will get to see L, a friend whom I have not seen since graduation; Alastair, generous soul that he is, promised to help a girl out.

I will be seeing my boyfriend at the beginning of July, but don't hold your breath. That kind of writing I charge for.



  posted by Jessica @ 15:54 |


17.6.02  

 

I wonder if Den Beste, the Python fan, is familiar with the Kids in the Hall, since their sketches, like Python's, frequently played with gay stereotypes. (Someone asked him in his forum and he hasn't responded yet.) And I can say that those particular sketches are still in demand: when I saw the Kids in the Hall live earlier this year, they performed "Running Faggot", and Scott Thompson had a new Buddy Cole monologue in which Buddy imagined a three-way with Saddam Hussein and his son. No. Seriously. And it was still funny. This is my favorite Buddy Cole monologue, for what it's worth, tied with "I'm not saying I'm gay. I'm just saying, boys, you wouldn't want to run into me in a dark alley." (The transcripts don't do the performances justice. You really have to see them.)

Anyway, my point is, clearly not politically correct humor, but even I at thirteen -- and I was not a worldly child, let me assure you -- knew an in-joke when I saw one. They even had a second-season sketch that dealt explicitly with Scott being out.

As for Python: I suspect at least some of the "Practice flouncing about" humor is lost on Americans who didn't experience the English school system; our college students used to dress up in drag all the time -- go find some pictures of F. Scott Fitzgerald from his Princeton days -- but the US doesn't have generations of hormonal boys who spent their adolescences cooped up with each other. But other than that, no, I don't know how Python gets away with it, other than "That's British humor for you." Same, for that matter, with John Inman in Are You Being Served?

For what it's worth, my father introduced me to Python, and I can still get him to crack up by saying "Not guilcup" every so often.



  posted by Jessica @ 12:01 |



 

There's a new place for all the cool kids to hang out.



  posted by Jessica @ 11:17 |



 

Oh, y'all. Crazy crazy weekend. It involved Elizabeth Taylor shouting "Monkey off the terrace!" and me watching the Senegal-Sweden game live with five other Swat alums -- one from Hong Kong (hi, M), one from Nepal, one from Kenya, one from Uganda, and one from the Ukraine. And the Blogapalooza, of course. Here's the proof: I'm the girl in the shiny glasses above Dr. Weevil's cranium. Sitting across from me, next to Erin Hayes, is Ken of the Illuminated Donkey, and let me tell you, if ever you're waiting for an IRT train at some ungodly hour of the morning, he's a good guy to have around. Here's a better picture of me sitting to the left of Jim of Objectionable Content, who is in turn to the left of Leonard of Unruled. And here are the rest of the good Doctor's pics.

I wish I could've spent more time with some of the bloggers, especially Nick, Ravenwolf, and Sasha Castel (who was modeling InstaWear). But the group that partied till the wee hours was myself, Ken, Jim, Max of Common Sense and Wonder, Paul Frankenstein, and Megan McArdle. It was lovely, stimulating conversation about MBAs and Tom Wolfe and the University of Pennsylvania and all sorts of topics. By 2 am we were so thoroughly talked out that no one wanted to stick around and watch Paraguay-Germany, which turned out to be no great loss.

(Speaking of which: Senegal! Senegal! How bad-ass was that winning backheel pass? Go Senegal! Go USA! So far my knockout round predictions are 4-2 -- yes to USA, England, Senegal, and Germany, no to Ireland and Belgium -- and I'm picking Japan and South Korea for tonight, so I'll probably finish 5-3.)

And Paul and I didn't even get to talking about China. For the next Blogapalooza, clearly.

As far as I know, there are very few Atlanta bloggers, though I know of at least two swell writers who live down there; I suspect I'll have to come back to NYC often to get my Blogapalooza fix. As well as my Asian movies fix. And my Prospect Park fix. Why am I moving, again?



  posted by Jessica @ 10:14 |



 

So I was about to RSVP to tonight's Blogapalooza, and realized that it starts, um, now. So I will be Little Miss Rude. I will also be alone, since poor Asparagirl is under the weather. For those who might still be there around 10:15 p.m., today I'm wearing a blue ribbed long-sleeved shirt, a khaki skirt, and knee-high brown boots. Please come up to me and say hello, as I have no idea what any of y'all look like.

Meanwhile, I'm blogging this article (via Arts & Letters Daily) not because I agree with it, because I'm not sure I do, but because I want to have the reference handy.

As the beta readers know (however much trouble they had figuring it out, thanks to some crucial background stuff getting cut without my noticing), Chloë-the-character is the Chinese-American daughter of Chinese-American parents, though her parents' families differ greatly: her father's parents snuck out of Shanghai under siege in the 1930s, while her mother's family settled in San Francisco in the 1880s and has been doing reasonably well ever since. So while both her parents grew up bilingual, both of them are American-born. Her father is (or was, I should say, since he dies before the action of the book takes place) a professor of Chinese language and literature at Emory and a Mandarin-to-English translator on the side.

Now for the complication: though both of her parents speak Mandarin (actually, her mom learned Mandarin, her dad learned Shanghai dialect), she herself can't do it; she studied earlier and failed miserably. Some people are not good with speaking more than one language, and Chloë happens to be one of them.

Now, you may be thinking that Contrivance has left Dawson's Creek and settled down with me, and you'd be more than a little bit right. I know approximately six words of Mandarin, and two of them (huiguan and gongzhuo) are specific terms I had to learn for my thesis. Moreover, I wasn't raised bilingual. I suspect that someone who was, or someone who daily uses a different language than the language they grew up speaking, would think very differently than a monolingual person; I got a taste of bilingual thinking my last month in Grenoble, when I was more comfortable speaking French than I'd been before or have been since. But I knew from the outset that (a) Chloë was Chinese-American and (b) I would not be able to convincingly fake her being able to speak Mandarin and English. So she's all English-speaking all the time.

So here we have a Chinese-American young woman (she's six months out of college when the book starts -- I was three months out when I first got the idea, so cut me some slack), who's never been to China (long story that might involve giving away plot points) and doesn't speak Mandarin, yet was raised in a Chinese-heavy household and is very much aware of -- and, not surprisingly, uncomfortable with -- her Chineseness. (Which is partly a character trait. Chloë is uncomfortable with sneezing, which is why I prefer Pete, even though Pete has the self-pity going heavily throughout.) The ambivalence over assimilation discussed in the Chronicle essay hits home for her, and she's spent the last four years at college -- working at the Asian-American lit magazine, even -- listening to the kind of weird backhanded race guilt going on in the essay. (I love how the guy basically calls Francis Fukuyama and Dinesh D'Souza "honorary whites" based on their ideological positions.)

Therefore a big subtheme in the book -- or it would be a subtheme, if I were subtle enough to handle things like subthemes -- is being able to handle mixed identities: Chloë as both Asian-American and a Southerner, when she really feels like neither, being just one example. And other characters -- her mother, primarily -- handle the contrasts a lot better than Chloë does. I'm not sure Professor Wu would approve of my reading his essay and saying, "Hey! This inspires me to talk about my heavily assimilated, ambivalent character!" Who knows. He teaches law at Howard University; their site seems to be down, but here's the cache of his bio.

If it comforts him any, I'm listening to L's Jacky Cheung CD as I type this. Not that I understand any of it. Don't speak Cantonese, either.



  posted by Jessica @ 18:31 |


14.6.02  

 

We advanced! We advanced! WOO-HOO!

Sing the praises of South Korea, the land that gave us short-haired Lee Sung-jae (and long-haired Lee Sung-jae, but let's ignore that for now), kim chee, speed skating controversies, and now, because they beat Portugal 1-0, a berth in the knockout round. This despite the fact that we got our butt handed to us by Poland. But such is the beauty of the World Cup. Join Jeff and me in our victory dance!

So here's a quick look at the knockout round:

Denmark vs. England: Nordic Battle. I think England will advance, if only when Becks and Owen physically pick up the rest of the team and drag them to the next round.
Brazil vs. Belgium: I don't think Brazil's been that strong this year. Belgium may surprise everybody.
Sweden vs. Senegal: This was supposed to be Africa's year, and then Ireland took Cameroon's spot. But you have to root for Senegal; they're the team that started les Bleus on their downward spiral. Go Senegal!
Japan vs. Turkey: Immense deflation vs. immense inflation. This will probably be Megan McArdle's favorite match.
Germany vs. Paraguay: Paraguay's still in it? Well, Germany didn't look as strong as they should have, but I still think they'll win.
US vs. Mexico: Now, I like Mexico. I've watched many an Emilio Larossa-created soap opera in my time. So I hope any Mexican readers will take the following sentiment in good faith: we're going to kick you around so much you'll be begging for NAFTA.
Spain vs. Ireland: Bogged-down quasi-socialist country where an evil Madrid clerk was mean to my friend vs. perky market-embracing, Euro-skeptical country that gave the world Karan Casey. No question. Go Ireland!
South Korea vs. Italy: Since the US would not be meeting this winner until the finals, I can safely say, go South Korea!

See what the anti-soccerites are missing?



  posted by Jessica @ 10:20 |



 

God bless the beta readers. Every time I'm feeling a bit down or nervous -- about moving in six weeks, is today's Topic of Fear -- one of them shows up in my inbox to say nice things to me. First, Beta Reader B said that she has not actually read The Corrections. But she has read my book. The score, if you're keeping track, is Jessica 2, Jonathan Franzen 0 (Beta Readers Division). Then Beta Reader D just requested the fifth chapter. (The chapters have names, but since not even I use them, they will probably not survive to the third draft.)

Some of the beta readers I don't know in person, but I do know D -- he graduated from Swarthmore a few years before I did, and I spent much of the spring of '99 arguing with him over the SWIL list about Elia Kazan and American communism. (It started when someone asked about Kazan's being honored at that year's Oscars and D wrote back, "Kazan was a patriot.") Anyway, we're fairly far apart politically -- he's much more of a morals-based conservative; I once called him Hamiltonian, and he objected, but not very strongly -- but the man writes very well. Moreover, he's been writing fiction himself. So for him to press for the next chapter -- well, I'm more than a bit flattered.

Finally, my best friend J wrote, Until then [read: until he's not working until 10:30 every night and can get to the actual reading], Chloe can hold up my grapes as I snack on them at night. I eagerly await the sex scenes you promised to put in. (See, with most people on your list you get astute criticism, but I fairly represent the American Reading Public as I skim for dirty words.) Good thing I left those sex scenes in, then. There's one I desperately want to cut, but I'll wait.

Meanwhile, today's Holy Crap! Moment of the Day as brought to you by the Hong Kong Movie Database: Stephen Tung Wai, whom I first met as the pretty-boy villain in Mar's Villa (he's the guy on the left in the photo), apparently went on to be the action director for seemingly half of Hong Kong's output since, including A Better Tomorrow, Twin Dragons, As Tears Go By, Days of Being Wild, A Taste of Killing and Romance, The Blade, and Princess D. Mar's Villa is a seriously underrated movie -- a 1979 tiny-budget, whirling-shot classic with lots of high-kicking, the Hang 'em High soundtrack, John Liu as the tortured (literally) hero, and the future kick-ass action director looking like he just walked away from a Menudo rehearsal. Again, to put it in American terms, it would be as if you found Joel or Ethan Coen as a kid actor in a short-lived ABC sitcom from 1974. Stephen Tung Wai, I bow to you.

Hope you enjoyed today's many many postings, as tomorrow I have a couple interviews and some work-related errands to run. Blogging is fun, but it doesn't pay the bills. Yet.




  posted by Jessica @ 18:16 |


13.6.02  

 

I had an email in my inbox titled "Soccer," and I thought: hey! my blog gets its first hate mail!

Actually, no. It was a note of appreciate from Jeff, who has recently considered the implications of the Italy-Mexico draw for the American soccer team. Now that's my idea of a strong manly blogger.

And I forgot to mention that a few days ago, the sexiest female blogger personally welcomed me to the blogosphere. Hi, Ravenwolf! I hope to meet you tomorrow! I won't get there till 10 p.m. at the earliest, given a prior date (with an incredibly campy Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton Italian-American film getting a one-time only screening), but I've been told that at the last blog bash the party went well into the night.



  posted by Jessica @ 15:28 |



 

The lady herself is back. And happily foul-mouthed. You've been warned.

Her man takes this as proof against my earlier assertion that anti-soccer ranters have something to hide. To this I will only say that my boyfriend is not a soccer fan, but if he had a blog, he would not feel compelled to write anti-soccer tracts longer than the unrevised first draft of Moby Dick. He doesn't yell "Soccer sucks!" to passers-by. He doesn't wear a shirt saying ASK ME ABOUT MY HATRED OF SOCCER. If someone called him a soccer fan, he'd just laugh. He is secure in his non-soccer love. I wouldn't have him any other way.



  posted by Jessica @ 13:20 |



 

What was she thinking? "She" in this case is Jennifer Taylor, the Duke alum who apparently majored in Anal Pole Insertion before she criticized Elton Brand for leaving Duke early. Now, my relationship to Duke basketball is long and slightly complicated -- I'll get to that in a second -- but even at the time Coach K, who stood to gain from Brand's staying, told him to scoot. The idea that basketball and football players must graduate from their training camps -- er, universities -- is a complete construct; if a fine arts major left school, say, to take a traveling photography gig with a prestigious magazine, no one would call it a moral failure on his part to leave school. The school will still be there when Brand gets back from the NBA. And it's not as if Alaa Abdelnaby or Greg Newton was tearing up Duke's classrooms.

I became a Dookie way back in 1990. The short version of the story is that I developed a huge, enormous, couldn't-fit-the-room-I-was-in crush on Bobby Hurley -- go ahead and laugh, but I was an insecure, miserable little twit, and he, and Duke basketball, were a couple of the best things to happen to my early adolescence. I met my best friend-turned-girlfriend on Duke's campus the summer of '91 when we were both there for the TIP program. I watched every game ESPN and Jefferson-Pilot broadcasted. (It helped to live in an ACC town.) So I have every good reason to be pro-Duke. Considering how down I got at various points, it would probably not be an exaggeration to say that Duke basketball saved my life.

That said, I'm not 13 anymore, and I'm not under the illusion that Duke is a paragon of academic class and brotherly love. Coach K excels at getting the fluke players -- the Christian Laettners and the Shane Battiers -- who make good ambassadors to the outside world, and then using them well; and Duke (the program and the university) benefits from the screen those players provide. But the Duke system is set up just like any other collegiate basketball program of its size to chew players like Brand up and spit them out, and if he can work the system in return, more power to him. You can't love Duke and hold your nose at the Minnesotas and the Syracuses and the Indianas, at least not without operating under massive delusions of your own Southern-sorority-superiority. (I almost was Duke '99, but practically every woman I met on campus was a sorority sister, and I eventually decided I'd be happier at Swarthmore. I think I was right.)

The whole system is a mess. My father likes to call NCAA Division I sports "the last bastion of slavery." In some ways Duke is almost worse than a program that openly admits its athletes aren't there to learn; it adds the veneer of respectability to a system that should have lost it decades ago. And the university has no reason to drop the system: its basketball program is one of the few big-name teams that actually generates money (The Game of Life is required reading on this). Brand is unimpressed with his alma mater, and I don't blame him one bit.

(Via Dan Lewis.)



  posted by Jessica @ 10:43 |



 

On our first date my now-boyfriend drove up and down Johnson Ferry Road for hours looking for an open dessert-and-coffee place -- namely, he was thinking, a Caribou Coffee. Now when I get back down there we'll probably be more likely to hang out at Aurora or Java Jive or the Majestic Diner on Ponce, just because you can't be an Atlanta writer and not hang out at one of those three places -- it's written in your Craggy Southern Writer contract, or something. (I interviewed Fred Willard once. Nice guy, great interview, and I hope I get to meet him again.) But Caribou is now out of the question. (Lileks, via one of the anti-soccerites, though I would have gotten there eventually by my lonesome.)



  posted by Jessica @ 10:01 |



 

The anti-soccer rants continue. Funny how the soccer-haters seem compelled to go on and on and on about how they can't watch it on TV and how nobody scores (these are frequently the same people who will praise a 1-0 baseball game as a brilliant "pitchers' duel" -- I can tell you, after years of watching the Braves, there is nothing good about a pitchers' duel. It means our offense died. Again. The best-case scenario is that I have less time to ogle my longtime secret boyfriend Tom Glavine. Now, Tom getting an 11-0 win? That's a quality game, I say) and only weenie Europeans like soccer. Did I not point out before, in establishing my love for (now, sadly, eliminated) Slovenia, that Israel has professional soccer too? But no. The Manly Men of the blogosphere must beat their manly chests and reassure each other that they are united in their manliness and their Lakers love. (Except for Pejman, who has the good taste to hate the Lakers but the bad sense to encourage the soccer whining.) Apparently they suspect that any deivation from such mutual reassurance will cause us to suspect them of testicular shrinkage.

Bah. The US still has a chance to advance, France is out, Senegal and Ireland are in, my office is riveted, and this chick likes the soccer. And from here on out I will automatically suspect any blogger who feels compelled to quote manly movies such as Godfather and spend eight paragraphs on his soccer hate as, well, compensating for hidden insecurities. In other words, to enjoy soccer, you have to have the balls.



  posted by Jessica @ 09:48 |



 

Three cheers for Master Sophie!

Meanwhile, we now have a grand total of two of the 17 beta readers who have finished the book. Beta Reader B didn't have much in the way of comments, which is totally okay -- in the scheme of things I'll get some people who'll just say, "I liked it," and some who'll have detailed chapter-by-chapter rundowns of what works and what doesn't. Both are valuable; I think if I had 17 detailed critics and not a soul who could just sit back and say, "Hey, that was good," I'd be a little worried. Anyway, she liked it. (But did she like it better than The Corrections? I haven't asked yet.)

And speaking of online friends, I spoke to Asparagirl last night. The Evil Corporation she works for has swamped her with work -- work wasn't exactly the first thing on her mind when her boy was in town -- but she misses her blog and swears that she'll get back to her adoring fans Any Minute Now. No exact time frame given, but I'd be very surprised if she hasn't returned by the end of the week. To tide you over, some goodies posted online in the last couple days: Den Beste (as always) on American charities, Joseph Epstein on snobbery (via Arts & Letters Daily); Reason on Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and the teacher portrayed in Stand and Deliver; and Eric Raymond on what makes good porn. And if that's not enough, my secret non-blogging Atlanta boyfriend Alton Brown is posting updates on his book tour. (He was in New York! And I missed him! ARRRGH!)



  posted by Jessica @ 10:22 |


12.6.02  

 

The deed is done: (belated) congratulations to my dear Esperanca, who has married her country-serving, Arsenal-cheering sweetheart. All the best to both of you.



  posted by Jessica @ 15:45 |


11.6.02  

 

To comment about why heterosexual men don't serve as sex columnists: I don't think it's simply evil feminists at work. The heterosexual male's reputation for not knowing what he's doing in bed predates them and will outlive them. Women aren't saddled with such a reputation: my boyfriend said to me (before he was my boyfriend -- actually, about five minutes after meeting me), "Women don't realize that they can be bad in bed, too," and I looked at him, shocked.

This is, of course, an outdated stereotype; but the general idea of the man who acts (poorly) and the woman who receives (passively) is still prevalent enough that a woman who talks about sex, cheerfully, is news.

Actually, the idea of anyone talking cheerfully about sex is news. What made Rachael Klein's column so entertaining was not simply that she was A Woman Writing Frankly About Sex but she was clearly so tickled to do it; "sex-positive," would be the rather sterile description. I didn't find Den Beste's salute to the string bikini offensive at all; I'd quibble with his assertion that women of the 1970s wore no makeup, since I've seen photos of my mother and her friends from the time period that clearly speak to the contrary, but on the whole, as someone 25 years his junior, I thought it was sweet -- and more sex-positive than threatening.

When I walk down my block in a short skirt, there are men (there's construction going on across the street from my apartment building) who say hello to convey their appreciation of my fine female form, and I say hello back and grin and take pride in it; and then there are men who say something similar, innocent on its face, and there's something in the tone or the raised eyebrow that tells me what he's expressing is not appreciation. And I don't take pride in that.

(Disclosure: been attacked twice, got away without a scratch on me both times, thank God. Once in London, once in Grenoble. Make of that what you will.)

Now I've probably been wrong in judging men in some of those cases. My point is that while it's based on external cues, my internal reaction -- pride or fear -- determines how I respond. I can determine the difference between the threatening male and the appreciative male, and respond accordingly, and I think that's one of the reasons why I've been lucky enough (so far) to be involved with good guys (and girls) and have not allowed anyone to take advantage of me. I've made a couple bad decisions, but they were mine and mine only. Lucky, like I said -- lucky that I was born in this era, and not any other, because in another time my fear-reaction might have been dismissed as hysterical or irrelevant. This is the point where I tell you that Susan Brownmiller's Against Our Will is required reading.

What happened in the 1970s and 1980s was that the pendulum swung the other way, and there was no room for anything but the aggressive (acting) male and the fearful (reactive) female; and that's what Den Beste apparently ran into (and Katie Roiphe wrote about way back when). The overcorrection makes some sense. The instinctive reaction I described earlier is highly personal; someone else, for example, can't assume I have it, or that I'll be able to listen to it when drunk or drugged or feeling insecure, etc. So it's easier for the someone else to teach me to fear all male desire, and head off my potential reactive failure at the pass. And that "someone else" could be my parents, my college, my office, anyone who might feel the fallout if I get hurt. I know, for example, that my father is just as appreciative as Den Beste of girls in string bikinis, but he would not be appreciative of Den Beste appreciative of me in a string bikini; his fear for me would be greater than his ability to recognize a fellow appreciative heterosexual male.

So we get back to writing about sex. A person reading an online column about sex doesn't have a lot of cues to work with, and "author is female" or "author is gay" is a cue for "nonthreatening." Because if the author was male, then it would be up to me to make the judgment of whether I found his writing about sex threatening or flattering, and by that point the publisher of the sex column probably doesn't want to take the risk.

The sex-positive female writers I've read are generally also able to distinguish, and celebrate, the appreciative male (and condemn the threatening one); I'm thinking of Lily Burana, or Sars. And I think it's high time the appreciative male came back into play. There's a reason my mother hates the song "Baby Got Back" and I just laugh.

Look, if there's a heterosexual guy out there who wants to start a sex advice blog, and he sounds like he has a clue, I'll link up.



  posted by Jessica @ 12:16 |



 

Den Beste is an otaku! Yay! He might get a kick out of this article.

(The word otaku is actually fairly interesting in and of itself. It's Japanese, and originally meant, "geeky guy who loves animé way too much and has zero social skills." I have heard that now in Japan it means anyone who has a particularly obsessive passion in one area -- you can be an otaku about fashion, for example, or a certain type of music. In the US, on the other hand, otaku has become shorthand to mean "someone who likes animé," and someone can say, "Oh, there's another otaku," without necessarily implying that the person in question is a loser.)

I think everyone who comes into contact with animé eventually develops a guilty pleasure. Some take the idea of "guilty pleasure" all the way and go for hentai and yaoi. (As I understand it -- feel free to correct me, as ever -- "hentai" is any two animé characters in a pornographic setting. "Yaoi" is two animé characters of the same sex in a pornographic setting. More information here.) Some otaku will admit to fairly highfalutin animé tastes -- they really love Miyazaki, for example, or Leiji Matsumoto, or Cowboy Bebop -- and keep their bedroom door closed so no one sees the stuffed Pikachu on their bed. Some will more defensively make the case for their guilty pleasure -- "Hey, El-Hazard / Revolutionary Girl Utena / Cutey Honey / Record of Lodoss War is deeper than you think!" And some just own up, with a blush and a shrug.

My own guilty pleasures are twofold: the Final Fantasy RPGs and Sailor Moon. I own several Sailor Moon VHS tapes. I have the English-language original series soundtrack, a gift from my best friend J. I carried a Sailor Mercury keychain for a while. Why? I'm not sure. I started watching the series when I got home from college in '99 -- Cartoon Network was showing it regularly then -- and something about it appealed to my swoony girly heart. Serena / Usagi ("bunny" in Japanese, which is why she's called Bunny in the US-translated manga books) is obstensibly the leader of the Sailor Scouts, but in the first series (my favorite) she's at her whiniest and least competent, and my particular favorite was Raye / Sailor Mars, who is (literally) fiery, impatient, out to get Serena's man, and yet loyal in the end.

There are a lot of similarities between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sailor Moon, actually. Both Serena and Buffy are at first uncomfortable with their powers and want to be "normal" teenagers; both are surrounded by a loyal cadre of friends who pitch in against evil; both date guys who help them in their evilfighting; both have a little "sister" who shows up out of nowhere (Rini / Chibi-usa in Sailor Moon, Dawn in Buffy) who turns out to be Of Vital Importance to the Future of the Known Universe. (And you can argue in both cases the show went downhill as soon as the little sister shows up.) It's unabashed girliness -- big eyes, rainbows, magic tiaras and sceptres and compacts, utterly female-dominated -- Sailor Moon has to fight the Negaverse, run by Queen Beryl, whose minions are all incredibly effeminate boys charmed by the power of Earth-girl love or bitchy girls who in the original series are actually boys. And of course there's a whole lot of fanfic out there where various combinations of Scouts hook up, and I'm not linking you to that; go find it yourself, otaku.

The animation's quality ranges from poor to nonexistent, the characters aren't exactly well-drawn, and I've only seen the American versions, which edit out brief glimpses of Scout nudity and Scout pimp-slapping, and "She's Got the Power" has to be one of the cheesiest songs ever recorded. But I still keep the tape in my parents' car.



  posted by Jessica @ 16:02 |


10.6.02  

 

Larry informed me over the weekend that he'd finished my novel.

This is what he did instead of finishing The Corrections.

So, at least to one reader, my book is more readable than The Corrections.

No, let me amend that. My unedited second draft is more readable than The Corrections. I cut nine pages (out of 330) from the first chapter alone yesterday. That's nine pages that poor Larry nevertheless had to truck through. And he still preferred me to The Corrections.

The crazy woman shaking her hips in a Dance of Glee at her desk? That would be me.



  posted by Jessica @ 11:06 |



 

Lord, how I could I not blog this story? What it doesn't mention is that this isn't the first time that the PRC has clashed with pop music. Cui Jian, a Taiwanese rocker, basically made his name on a song that was popular during the 1989 Tiananmen protests, and got banned from the mainland after the crackdown; a couple years ago there was a huge brouhaha after A-Mei sang -- I want to say she sang the Taiwanese national anthem and promptly got banned also from performing on the mainland. The Cantopop stars have by and large steered clear of controversy; it seems to be the syllables "Tai" and "wan" put together that adds that magic spark of political insouciance to what would otherwise be just another Asian boy band.

My weekend viewing with L was He Ain't Heavy, He's My Father, a slight but sweet 1993 comedy that serves a very useful purpose: after watching it you'll never get Tony Leung Chiu-wai (the one who was in Chungking Express, Happy Together, and In the Mood for Love) confused with Tony Leung Ka-fai (the one who was in New Dragon Inn) again. Also there are a lot of Hong Kong in-jokes -- Waise Lee appears as a young Li Ka-shing, for example, and Tony Leung Chiu-wai tells him, "The real estate market is going to collapse in 1967. But keep that to yourself." L and I are convinced we missed a good 60% of the jokes. Still, a very cute movie about a man who doesn't get along with his father, and then goes back in time, Back to the Future-style, to find out how his parents fell in love. Well-paced, although the one madcap action scene fizzled out.



  posted by Jessica @ 10:21 |



 

I found out yesterday that a round-trip flight between New York and Toronto, leaving on July 4th and returning July 7th, would be approximately $225. A little more than I have, and I'd probably be going down to Atlanta that weekend anyway. So it was a purely hypothetical exercise. You know. I've heard Toronto is a nifty city. It would have absolutely nothing to do with this woman being at Toronto Trek during that time. Nothing at all. Nothing! Quit looking at me like that!

On a semi-related note, last night I watched a documentary about Castro Street on WNET. It was hokey and went far too fast (AIDS got roughly six minutes of a 90-minute documentary), but I still found myself unexpectedly tearing up. The first time I cried was when they played footage of Diane Feinstein shakily announcing that Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk had been killed. The reporters gathered in front of her clearly hadn't known what to expect, and when she finished reading the first part of her statement there were shouts and gasps, and then a few seconds later, a man crying, "Jesus Christ!" He was off-camera but I could imagine him writing Moscone, Milk dead in his notepad, and having a brief moment where the words didn't mean anything to him, and then he stared at them for a moment more and realized how awful those words were, and then when he yelled Jesus Christ! loud enough for me to hear it almost a quarter-century later -- it was as if no time had passed at all.

I'd forgotten, strangely enough, that the local public television stations schedule gay-related programming in June. "Strangely" because when we moved to Connecticut in June of '93, I was constantly sneaking to spare TV sets to watch documentaries and the first ten minutes of Longtime Companion. Newsweek published a cover on lesbians -- really, that's all it was, two women in a fairly casual embrace beneath the word "LESBIANS" -- later that summer, and I think I still have that issue, stored in a drawer with a couple reviews of Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, a New York Times Book Review that mentioned Benjamin Britten's love letters to Peter Pears, and a bunch of other stories I'd clipped in the previous two years.

If it's not obvious, I started "questioning my sexuality" -- I put it in quotes because y'all, I was twelve, and still trying to come to grips with the idea that people had sex in the first place -- more accurately, I got my first full-blown crush on a girl at the very end of 1991, and since then have been on-and-off attracted to women; on often enough to call myself "bisexual" without flinching too much. There's always the potential hypocrisy in saying, "But I like girls too!" especially when all my long-term relationships save one have been with guys. But, well, I do.

Watching that documentary last night reminded me of that time period when I thought I liked only girls, and how scared and desperate I was, and how much comfort I took from those articles -- and from seeing both parts of Angels live on Broadway (thank you, Mom), and Kids in the Hall reruns on Comedy Central (back when it seemed that Scott Thompson was the only openly gay man on American television). It was about the same time as the gays-in-the-military debate heated up, and I was at a conservative private high school where the debates about the issue -- I'm amazed, in retrospect, how much public debate it got -- was fairly one-sided, and I wasn't secure enough of myself at the time to yell at the kids making openly homophobic remarks. Which is all the more pathetic given that one of my ex-classmates there is now out and proud both personally and professionally. But at the time, when I wasn't writing long passionate letters to my girlfriend in Virginia, I was feeling a secret thrill of recognition every time I found an article about gay men and women, a this-is-the-group-to-which-I-belong vibe.

(I should add here that I was also reading The New Republic religiously, that I still have the issue with the excerpt from A Place at the Table, and that if I look really hard I might be able to find the photo of Andrew Sullivan from the New York Times magazine from when he was editor. At the time I thought he was without question one of the coolest people walking the earth.)

The Castro Street documentary was still enamored of that group-vibe -- the last couple minutes showed people complaining that it had gotten too "touristy" and "commercial." (One of those complainers, twenty minutes earlier in documentary time, had said, "We felt like we were never going to get out of this ghetto.") My own feeling, after ten years of wrestling with boy-like and occasional girl-like, is that sexuality is too fluid to hang a group on; ultimately gay culture's greatest mark of success might be when it becomes superfluous. But group-vibe is fairly seductive. (Why do you think I've become such a blogowhore so quickly? It's fun getting all these emails from other nice, polite, friendly bloggers. Hi, Nick!) And even though the amount of progress in ten years has been nothing short of mind-boggling -- I wonder how I would have reacted to Willow and Tara on Buffy as a confused 12-year-old -- the group, or maybe even just the idea of the group, can still be useful. I know now that I was being terribly naïve about how accepting any gay "group" might be; but that doesn't cancel out how relieved I was to learn I was not a complete awful freak to have a crush on another girl.

And I'm not particularly brave about the whole thing -- not exactly rushing out to give the parents this URL, for example -- but hell, this is part of who I am. My long, strange relationship with my ex-girlfriend is part of who I am. And, frankly, I'm fairly grateful that I live in a country and a time when I can say, "I like girls and boys," and the reactions range from a yawn to an eye-roll to more flirting. And I can have my disagreements with the identity-politics group-vibe approach and still recognize that part of the reason why I can do that is because the people on Castro Street, among others, had the We're here, we're queer, get used to it! cheer going before I was even born. So I'm grateful to them too.

(And for the record, even in seventh grade Randy was a sweetheart.)



  posted by Jessica @ 18:58 |


7.6.02  

 

Dear England: yes, that was very nice. Someday Brooklyn Beckham will balance a little kid on his lap and point at the screen: That was your grandfather! (At approximately the same time, on the other side of the Atlantic, Natalie Lileks will be patiently explaining to her offspring what a "blog" was, and what a "server" was, and how Grandpa could still see movies for $5.50.) Now, a recommendation for later: the next time you have a 1-0 lead on a dangerous team, do not spend the last ten minutes playing as if the field has shrunk to half-size and the only goalkeeper worth paying attention is your own. Germany knew better than that and they still got a goal scored on them in the second minute of injury time. I know it's soccer, but one goal is not offense enough, and that Churchill speech does not go, "We will fight in the hills, we will fight in the trenches, we'll get a lead, and then we'll let our enemy have another corner kick every thirty seconds!" Sheesh.

(And for the record, Natalie, your dad is on the mark about Hayden Christiansen.)

Slovenia-South Africa tonight. Go, Slovenia! Rally from turmoil and kick their post-apartheid butts back to Johannesburg! I wish I had a catchy Slovene fight song to sing.

Other news: Layne is a book-writing gentleman, Vodkaman rewarded my pleas with a permalink, Den Beste has something in common with my college friend P (who hung the Rolling Stone picture of Katie Holmes, rising out of the water and biting her lip, outside his door), mon lecteur français wanted to make sure I knew about this French-language Takeshi Kitano fan site, and I'm never eating at the Subway on 56th Street by 6th Avenue ever again, because I started feeling headachey roughly ten minutes after finishing a turkey-breast-and-ham on wheat and haven't stopped since. Damn you, Alfred Ely Beach.



  posted by Jessica @ 12:28 |



 

Emily Jones wrote in to say I should have written Kinji Fukasaku, not Fukasaku Kinji, in my post yesterday. I stand by it: his family name is Fukasaku and his given name is Kinji, and by the new rule of this blog, he is Fukasaku Kinji. His son, who wrote the Battle Royale screenplay, is Fukasaku Kenta.

She did have another point: Battle Royale did get screened in this country. She's fairly certain it got screened in L.A. and I know it got introduced by Quentin Tarantino in New York last fall (I was so happy to see the film available in London because I'd missed it in New York). I should have said that I don't think it will ever get a wide release, or an American-produced DVD or VHS release. But it might still show up in the odd film festival here and there.

Also, a French reader -- et que je suis fière d'avoir des lecteurs français! -- says that Battle Royale is not typical of Takeshi Kitano's directing work, and that while Kids Return is interesting, the real finds are Hana Bi and Sonatine. (And I should actually say I think Takeshi is his last name, but I can't swear to it. Sigh. The first time I refer to Junichiro Koizumi and not the other way around, y'all are going to be laughing so hard.)

Oh, and I should plug the Asian Fantasy Film Expo next weekend in New Jersey.



  posted by Jessica @ 13:59 |


6.6.02  

 

Bill Davis doesn't note it, but Zlatko Zehovic, Slovenia's most prominent player, has been sent home after fighting with his coach. Apparently he learned nothing from watching what the Irish team has been going through. The quote from the Slovenian Football Association, who were the ones to kick Zehovic out, is priceless: "He described the incident incorrectly, insulted the head coach and abused the trust of the players again by stating that they agree with him, since they have in reality condemned his behaviour but agreed that he should stay with the team."

Now, they should have done that from the beginning and not let it get to a point where coach Srecko Katanec announced he would step down immediately after the Cup. Mick McCarthy apparently had more power to handle the Roy Keane incident than Katanec did to cope with Zehvoic's whiny bratness. I hope Katanec feels secure enough now to rally the team against South Africa. Fight on, Slovenia!



  posted by Jessica @ 10:24 |



 

Requesting Feedback from Beta Readers, #1:
I had a reader comment today that too many characters get introduced in the first chapter. This is one of those things I wouldn't notice because I've had these characters in my head for months on end. But now that she's said it, I'm thinking that maybe a couple of scenes with lesser characters could be cut to simplify things. What do y'all think?



  posted by Jessica @ 18:32 |


5.6.02  

 

As of, well, now, this blog has a set policy: Japanese and Korean names are last-name-first. Chinese names will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Feel free to fact-check my ass if I flip them later on.

Meanwhile, Dawn Olsen and Vodkaman are flirting shamelessly. Apparently Stephen has a crush on Asparagirl because she's bisexual, cute, smart, and 23. And I am chopped liver, apparently. Hello? Stephen? Did you miss the reference to my ex-girlfriend? Or maybe I'm too old for him. I'll be 24 in August.

Sigh. At least Pejman will love me if I'm not sure if it's Ando Masanobu or Masanobu Ando. Which I'm not.

And yes, it has been a slow work day.



  posted by Jessica @ 16:20 |



 

Captain Scott, as it turns out, has not seen any Takeshi Kitano movies. The more fool him. I've only seen one, but it was Battle Royale, which ought to be the equivalent of two or three ordinary movies.

Last October, in London, feeling rather unenthusiastic about the ticket offerings at Leicester Square, I decided that I'd pop up to my favorite movie theater there, the Curzon Soho (just off of Chinatown, but I never remember what street it's on) and see what was playing. And completely lucked into seeing Battle Royale, because I don't think it'll ever be screened in the United States. (The basic plot: a class of ninth-graders forced onto an island; they have three days to kill each other; last one "wins" the game. Lots of graphic violence follows.)

Interestingly enough, I found out recently that Takeshi's reputation in the States as an onscreen bad-ass à la Chow Yun-fat or Jean Reno is actually of fairly recent vintage. His "Beat" sobriquet comes from the early 1970s, when he teamed up with another rising star and they became "The Two Beats," specializing in shock scatalogical humor. Only in the late 1970s did he start doing movies, and it wasn't until he stepped in for Fukasaku Kinji (the director of Battle Royale) to direct Violent Cop in 1989 that he started making his current reputation; meanwhile he continued to do all sorts of goofy television appearances. In North American terms this is would be the equivalent of Tom Green turning into Robert de Niro. This fan site hasn't been updated in a while, but it has a lot of interesting information. Now I'm very curious about Kids Return, which was not only written and directed by Takeshi but also stars Ando Masanobu, also known as crazy psychopathic frizzy-haired Kiriyama in -- you guessed it -- Battle Royale. I mean, really, if you had to pick a crazy psychopathic killer for a movie directed by Fukasaku Kinji and starring Takeshi Kitano, would you cast this guy? And yet. (That last link's from Battle Royale Online. Great site, but be careful -- lots and lots of spoilers.)

So the Captain's lady is looking for an Asian film tutor, and of course I don't even own a damn copy of Battle Royale. But maybe I should wait till Scott's back in town to screen that one anyway.



  posted by Jessica @ 15:51 |



 

Note to Layne: there was scheduled to be a soccer movie coming soon to a theater near you, especially you, Mr. Big Movie Market Man. It's called Shaolin Soccer; it's the creation of Stephen Chow of Justice, My Foot!, King of Comedy, and The God of Cookery fame. Both the majority of posters on MHVF, whose opinions en masse I respect, and my boyfriend have seen it and declared it hella funny. Now Miramax, in all its wisdom, has chosen to sit on releasing Shaolin Soccer, and traditionally when a big Hollywood studio buys the remake and/or distribution rights to an Asian film and then sits on it, none of the local smaller festivals can screen said film (I think Subway Cinema got in just under the deadline with their screening of My Sassy Girl in April). So, yes, do blame Evil Culturally Oppressive Hollywood for keeping me from a good soccer movie.

I have no patience with anti-soccer whining, especially anti-soccer whining from someone whose heavily favored home team starts playing for the championship tonight. For one, I don't see the difference between Sacramento fans cheering for Vlade Divac and French fans cheering for Zizou. You can argue that in general Sacramento residents are kinder to Serbians off the court than the French are to Algerians, and you'd be right, but anyone giving the current Cup half a glance can see that its internationalism outstrips the NBA's and leaves it shredded. The coaches alone -- England is currently coached by a Swede, China by a Serbian who previously coached the US, South Korea by a Dutchman (and they love him so now), Japan by a Frenchman -- and then there's a damned long history of players getting nationalized at the last minute. Would this guy have received Japanese citizenship if he weren't playing for the Japanese national team? And the Kings' frontcourt is so unique . . . how?

As for soccer hooligans being scary, seeing as how in the last year a UGA football fan shut down Hartsfield Airport and fans at both the University of Maryland and in Denver had riots to match the apparent Lakers one, sorry, that doesn't wash with me. Obsessed American sports fans, especially drunk ones, can be just as obnoxious and destructive as their Euro-counterparts.

Finally, the anti-soccerites always say they don't want to watch soccer because the rest of the world is trying to force it down their throat. Which I can understand. As I've said before, my office is half-British, and twice this week I've come into the office to see my co-workers watching taped games, and this morning my Irish national co-worker was happy because Ireland tied Germany. I'm getting exposed to a lot more soccer love than Layne is. I can scorn it, or embrace it; in the interest of office harmony, I embrace it. And really? It's not so bad. You get to make all sorts of gross generalizations about countries based on a 90-minute game, something that's harder to do in the more individual-centered Olympics (Senegal beats France, and years of colonialization are avenged!); you get all sorts of crazy sideline drama, with or without Roy Keane; you get, at least in this office, perfectly legitimate excuses to come into work looking hungover, paint your face with the St. George's cross, and sit around at lunch for two hours watching tapes. Give in, Layne. Kobe can only act for so long, but soccer will be forever.

Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan is worried about soccer indifference in this country, somebody beat me to telling Layne about Shaolin Soccer, and the MATH+1 forum is (almost) united in the Lakers hate.



  posted by Jessica @ 12:27 |



 

We beat Portugal? Wow. First their economy tanks and now this. The land of Prince Henry the Navigator is sad, and the land of James van der Beek, Thomas Kincaid, and television executives who cancel Judd Apatow shows rejoices. Truly there is no justice in the World Cup.

There are, however, some very nice people in the blogosphere. If you're coming here from Instapundit or PejmanPundit, welcome. The quick skinny: I'm Jessica, Author of Much, not all of which gets published (thank God); Chloë and Pete are the two main characters of my second novel, which is currently being read by volunteers; I live in New York and I'm moving back down to my hometown of Atlanta soon; I like Asian films, and am trying to see as many as possible before said move. And I'm more of a centrist than a conservative.

As for that novel: A. C. Douglas suggests that the 122K+ word length will count against it when it comes time to find a publisher. I suspect he's right. Originally it was about 70K words. When I handed it to my boyfriend for reading, he said, "You've only written the middle third." So I tacked on the first and third thirds, and fleshed out a few characters who aren't Chloë or Pete (my boyfriend is particularly fond of Alicia, Pete's pro-gun bitchy lawyer stepmother), and thus we have The Novel that Just Won't Quit. For what it's worth, I'm getting good reviews so far. My Bad College Novel was also in the 120K-word range, which is not a good sign, but at least this time I'm not spending pages on the most unrealistic mental hospital in the history of fiction.

The good Mr. Douglas, whom I'll have to permalink soon, has experience in trying to sell a novel, and notes that to sell the book doesn't have to be simply good but also marketable. I've gotten to see some of this up close, as my roommate works for a literary agent (though the number of times she's talked about her work I can count on one hand). In all honesty? This is part of my solution to that particular problem -- attract eyeballs and interest through the blog first. The whole process of assembling book readers through my online writing is still novel enough that it might attract an agent's or a publisher's attention. The other part is to get the sucker published while I'm still young and attractive enough for that to be a reason to publish me in and of itself. Hot Chick Writes Book? It's worked before.

(At which point the reasonable reader might say, "But how do I know you're hot?" Good question. Unfortunately there are very few photos of me available online. The photos here are two years old, but they were taken during one of my better hair days. I'm first on the left, in the black pants and white baby doll shirt, and the girl in the pink shirt featured in "Stage 1.")

Finally -- I had great fun checking my email this morning, I must say -- Stephen "VodkaYenta" Green is looking to fix me up on a blind date with a Daewoo DVG-3000N. We may have to postpone for a while, but I have to say, I'm definitely liking what I see. Va-va-voom.

Now I'm sorry I don't have a hit counter to see how much traffic I'm getting today. But then, if I gazed any more at my own navel I'd be cross-eyed. So, hi! Enjoy!



  posted by Jessica @ 10:20 |


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