If you know ten people, you can bother them all attempting to sell them  useless ugly greeting cards!


Nominations for the Reztilup Prize are now being taken. Gnat was supposed to draw a picture of a Famous Woman for her Girl Scouts class; we consulted a coloring book of celebrated American dames, and the pickings were rather odd: mostly dour 19th and 20th century authors, Amelia Earhart in an illustration that had been run through a Photoshop De-Horseify filter, Eleanor Roosevelt in full Sedan mode, Gertrude Fargin’ Stein (with Alice B. attached as usual like some sort of side-car), and Golda Meir, wearing the ugliest dress possible. Gnat went with Edith Wharton, because Mommy had read the books, and she liked the dress. She copied the description from the coloring book, including the part about the Pultizer prize. Which she spelled exactly backwards: Reztilup.

A Bizzaro-land prize for reporters who get everything wrong! Intentionally! At the ceremony you have to give them the prize, and a check. And you bring the food. Afterwards, all copies of your work are burned, and you are fired and blacklisted.

Didn’t do much today, and it gnaws at me. Woke, made sure the homework was done, got her off to school; wanted to nap. Stayed up too late and slept thin, and I just felt absent in my own skin. But I had a column to turn in. Luckily, I’d written it the night before. Unfortunately, it was krep; at least I knew it at the time. So I wrote another, well aware of its downbeat and unimpressive quality; I apologized for the same at the end, let it sit for an hour, then sent it in. March. March is the heavy stone. March is twelve feet of drywall between you and spring; start chewing.

I have a large project that needs to be done. It’s the novel. The not-Joe-Ohio novel. Part of me wants to give in to the Elves of Self-Doubt, who show up by the score and bang me over the head with small hammers until I realize there’s no point to writing the damn thing, but I really like the idea. It’s a matter of finding the time. This is where “not winning the lottery” is a major impediment, because I cannot stroll back to the Writing Hut at the edge of the Manor and type uninterrupted. Everything else I can do with constant interruption, both external and internal – but it’s hard to get into the groove when something else is always nipping at my heels. No matter how good the idea is, enthusiasm is evanescent, and I worry that this one will just evaporate with time.

Picked up Gnat from school. Let her play Roller Coaster while I napped. I dreamed that an old editor of mine was weeping, and didn’t want to tell me why. Made supper – in a stunning upending of the order of things, Spaghetti Day has been moved to Wednesday, making Monday the wild-card day. It’s a major realignment, but I think we’ll adjust, in time.

Obligatory Firefly Review (last one until next Wednesday) Watched “Bushwhacked,” which was rather brave: the spooky abandoned ship has been done before, to say the least. I can tell I’m already caught up entirely in this thing, because I got a little chill when the captain announced that Reivers were responsible. It has the same ring as “Borg” did, before that idea was bled of all dread with overuse and cozening interlocutors. At the end of the show I feared that “Firefly” would suffer from Marlowe’s Syndrome – the tendancy, week after week, to do the right thing at the expense of getting paid. As with Marlowe, I can only assume that lucrative jobs were successfully carried out between episodes. Who’d want to do a story about a dull run to a planet that needed some nice dried red pepper flakes? Right.

But the Reivers are not the Borg; the Reivers are, or were, Human. And that’s another thing I realized about the show: no aliens. At least so far. No need to dress up underemployed actors in robes or jump-suits and give them funny noses or forehead encrustations. The universe is empty, save for us.

I mentioned yesterday that it was the writing, not the characters. Of course it’s both. It’s the writing first – but you have to have characters you like. Last night I jotted down a few notes as I watched the show. Of course all these things have been noted in endless detail by more astute observers, years ago. But what the hell.

The Shepherd: twinkly gravitas lite. I’m sure his backstory has some great secret, which will be revealed in an episode where the show’s momentum is sufficiently established that they can reveal his past.

Kaylee: very clever choice; playing against type for the Chief Engineer. No splenetic Scot or boy-scout Giordi; She’s the tomboy little sis, so goshdang cute with that little crinkle-nosed giggle. And everyone is bored by her technobabble.

Jayne: the shaved wookie. Great character. Loose cog, stupidly brave, loyal except-not-maybe, and pee-in-his-drawers scared of Reivers. Can be drawn using only rectangles.

The Alliance: bought those uniforms at the Star Wars Galactic Empire Fire Sale, eh?

Zoe: nothing clear yet; I hope she’s not the standard Pissed-Off Ethnic Woman.

Malcolm: again, I have to go back to the writing. Every high-flown sentiment he utters is instantly undercut by the next statement – but in a way that subtly reinforces it. As I said the other day, Indiana Solo without the dopey grin.

Netflix delivers the next disk on Friday. Amazon delivers the entire set (and the movie) next week. Since I paid for both with the Amazon associates program points from your purchases of “Mommy Knows Worst,” I thank you for the gift.

Since a number of people liked that credit card, I decided to give you a better version. (He did call the ship a “boat” in the 3rd episode, I believe.) This one is 392% geekier than the previous one, for a reason that will be apparent only to the hard core.

Nothing new today, save a Quirk. Which reminds me: I must now write another, then tackle the mail. Apologies for the dullishness of today’s entry. Oh. wait - new Screedblog as well on the ports issue - it’s the syndicated column, so it doesn’t refer to what I wrote before. I’ve calmed down on that one.

Diner tomorrow! See you then.

c. j lileks. email may be sent to first name at last name dot com.