Monday, October 26, 2009
Huzzah!

In some ways, I'm an optimist. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise, a person doesn't work on the same book for over a decade without a little glimmer of hope to keep them going.

But it's more than that, really. I believe that the vast majority of people are good. Not just deep-down good, but good right up on the surface. That's why I run these fundraisers. I think most people enjoy making the world a better place. All they need is an opportunity, and, occasionally, a little nudge.

But in other ways, I'm a pessimist. For example, I believe that most large corporate entities by their very nature tend to be malignant.

When I say malignant, I'm not saying that Global Corp is going to break into your house and kill you while you sleep. But they will make your pillow out of a fire-retardant chemical that makes you breathe toluene all night. Because they can be sued by a smoker who lights their own pillow on fire, but not by someone who gets cancer when they're sixty.

What's my point? Well, my point is that when my account got flagged by Paypal a couple of days ago, I really didn't have much hope of being able to straighten things out with them.

In fact, I was ready to be all indignant about it. I've had a Paypal account since 2001, and I felt a little betrayed. I had all sorts of scathing things I was going to say. Names I was going to call them. Mud I was going to fling. How dare they take a crap on my fundraiser? Especially when it was going so well...

Despite this pessimism, I e-mailed them to straighten things out. I tried to work within the system. I talked to them on the phone.

So imagine my surprise when they were really nice. And today, all the limitations were lifted from my Paypal account. I really wasn't expecting things to work out so quickly and easily.

The purpose of this blog is twofold.

First, I just wanted to say thanks to Paypal. You guys impressed me.

The second is to update everyone on the status of the name raffle fundraiser thing.

Things are going amazingly well. So far we've got about 150 people donating, and we've raised over 8000 dollars. Way better than I ever expected.

Because I'm drawing two winners, that means if you buy a ticket, you've got about a 1 in 400 chance of winning.

If you donate 50 bucks, which gets you 6 tickets, you've got about a 1 in 70 chance.

That beats the hell out of most lotteries, you have to admit. Besides, and all the money is going to a great cause.


(How can you not want be a part of this?)


I'm hoping we can finish strong on this. We lost a few days because of the Paypal thing, but if people help spread the word I think we can make up for it.

And one more time, here's the link to the blog with all the raffle details and the now-functional online donation buttons.

And lastly, if you're thinking of donating online. You might want to strike now while the iron is hot. A lot of Paypal's system is automated, and there's an outside chance it might flag my account again in a week or so. It would be shame if you missed your chance to donate because of that...


Frabjously yours,

pat

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posted by Pat at 45 Comments



Friday, March 13, 2009
On that which lies between (and The Watchmen)

I have an undeniable tendency to overconsider things. That means that sometimes, some of the things I want to say here end up becoming obsolete before I actually say them.

Like Coraline, for example. I really liked the movie. I wanted to post a blog about why I liked it, and recommend that people check it out. But movies come and go so fast, and I missed my window of opportunity for that one.

Part of the problem with writing these posts is that it's hard for me to shift gears. It's hard for me to post up something serious and involved, then two days later say, "Hey, y'all know what movie is really cool?"

Similarly, a day after I post up a humor column, it doesn't seem really appropriate for me to post up the story of what I thought when I felt the pain in my chest and the tingling down my left arm.

You see, a novel needs continuity, pacing, consistency. I strive for these things, I'm hyper-aware of them. A novel can have funny bits and sweet bits. It can be romantic, dramatic, and horrible. But all those pieces need to come together to form a coherent whole.

It's my belief that this coherency is one of the most important parts of any story. Comic, movie, or book, the medium doesn't matter. I think that strange intangible element makes the difference between a story that's satisfying, and one that isn't.

In fact, now that I'm thinking of it, I think this strange something might actually be the soul of the story. It's the difference between something that is a story, and something that just looks like a story.

You can't just throw together a plot, some characters, some dialogue and some humor onto the page and get a real story. Not a true and vital story. It doesn't work any more than throwing two arms, two legs, a head and bunch of organs into a sack makes a person.

Sure you need a plot, mostly. And you need characters and all the rest. But the story, I think, is the thing that connects these parts. The story is that which lies between.

Bigger stories need more of it. A novel needs it in spades.

Sometimes I wonder about what I write here. Does this collection of musings and anecdotes that I only reluctantly call a blog need that same coherency? I think not. Maybe. Probably. I think.

Still, old habits die hard, and so a lot of times I think of writing something for the blog, but it doesn't seem timely. Other times I actually write something with the intention of posting it up, then decide that the time for it has past. Or I don't post it because it seems odd or incongruent with what I have posting lately.

Hmmmm...

What was I talking about? Oh yes. The Watchmen.





In brief, I liked it. It was fun to watch, largely true to the spirit of the original, and I'd be happy if someone did that good a job bringing something I wrote onto the screen. Not ecstatic, perhaps. But very happy.

Did I have quibbles? Of course I did. The Watchmen was the second comic I read as an adult. I was 22 at the time, and it was a large part of what convinced me that the medium of comics wasn't just a mess of childish bullshit.

I don't believe in spoilers, so I won't give anything away about the plot or the changes they made. Instead, I'll just make some general comments.

I liked...

...the casting. Whoever was responsible for the casting in the movie deserves a full, passionate kiss on the mouth. The acting was brilliant, and the portrayal of many of the characters was truly exceptional.

... the fact that the movie was subtle and clever. I am a fan of subtle and clever.

... the visuals. Normally I could give a care about things like that. But many of these were truly fantastic. Very true to the comic while at the same time adding to the overall tone of the movie.

... the acting. So good on all fronts. I can't remember the actor's name who played the comedian, but he rang my bell. Every role I've seen him in he's been great.

... seeing Dr. Manhattan's great naked blue dick dangling all over the place. Huzzah.


I disliked...

... the loss of moral ambiguity the original story possessed.

... the portrayal of Ozymandias. Not the acting, mind you. The overall portrayal.


As I've said I don't go in for spoilers. So that's all I'll say here. Maybe I'll chime in with a more specific comment or two below. If you hate spoilers, you'll probably want to avoid the comments section, as I expect there will be some heated and specific discussion.

Is the movie worth seeing? Absolutely. But you should really read the graphic novel too. It's brilliant. It's clever. It's full of that which lies between.

Later all,

pat

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