Saturday, September 10, 2022

The Non-Born King

The Nonborn King (Saga of the Pliocene Exile, #3)The Nonborn King by Julian May
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Epic. Deep. A blast. This is my second reading, the first being nearly forty years ago. These books were written to last. I may be enjoying them even more than I did as a teenager. A deeper knowledge of the world only enriches the experience. Nearly everything I remember from this series came from the first two books. This is exciting, as these books are my favorite adventure story. It's similar to reading them for the first time. The end of book 2 knocked the game board over and scattered the pieces. Here, those that remain gather strength and make fragile alliances. Julian May was absolutely brilliant, her layers of knowledge stack atop one another to make (brace yourself for this metaphor) a magnificent baklava, honeyed by her cinematic writing style. I can't wait to see how it turns out (again).

View all my reviews

Monday, August 29, 2022

La Belle et la BĂȘte

Josette Day and Jean Marais as the title characters.

 

Finally saw Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (1946) after years of it sitting on my to-be-watched list. I saw it on HBOmax and it's usually on the Criterion Channel as well. The story moves along at a decent pace and has enough weirdness throughout to keep me interested. I especially like the moving heads of the sculptures. What impressed me was how much it felt like a Hollywood picture of the same era. Cocteau's Orpheus (1950), on the other hand feels much more like an indie film. Is it the budget? Or is Beauty's surrealism subsumed by the fairy tale nature of the story while that of Orpheus stands out in sharper contrast, affecting our biases? I recommend this film to people who have exactly my tastes.

Monday, August 01, 2022

Goals Update

I’ve been gone for a while! Here’s an update on the goals I posted on January 1st. 

The short version: IT'S GOING TERRIBLY!

The longer version:

1. Write 365,000 words: I currently only have 103,068 words in. I’m running about 109,000 behind.

2. Finish Hive Five: Not even close. I’m about 22 chapters into what I think will run about thirty chapters and those 22 are far from final drafts.

3. Read 104 books: I’m currently at 29 books

4. Have 50 patrons (at the same time): The strategy here was to produce weekly videos and establish a YouTube presence. First I didn’t have enough time because of school. Then I was done with school and no longer had free access to Adobe products through the school. So, that strategy is going nowhere. I seem to have one more patron than I started the years with though, so, technically, I’m going in the right direction (hey, I’ll take whatever progress I can get).

5. Weigh 225 pounds (and don’t get heavier after I do): I think I’ve actually gained weight since the beginning of the year, but I’m not giving up yet. I might even try this time.

6. Write 52 blog posts on The One-Thousand: We’re in August and this is post number six!

7. Get my A.A. in English: I succeeded!

Well, I’ve got a lot of work to do. Better get to it!

BTPM 152

UPDATE: The Patreon player is acting up at the moment. If you can't play it in the player, you can always download it and give it a listen.

Here's a link to the latest episode of Beware the Patronizing Mango, number 152. Enjoy!

https://www.patreon.com/posts/patronizing-152-68890838

 

Monday, January 24, 2022

Shadows in Color


I was making big bubbles and fell in love with their rainbow shadows on the wall. Crank up the picture quality, and please share if you like it. Thanks!

Saturday, January 01, 2022

My Short List Of Ridiculous Goals For 2022

Happy New Year! Here are my brief but ridiculous goals for 2022:

1. Write 365,000 words. That, of course, is 1,000 words a day. Thank Christ (or, more appropriately, Pope Gregory XIII) it’s not a leap year. I’d never make that goal! So, this is over three times what I wrote in 2021, but I will have more time in 2022. I only have one class this year, as opposed to three last year, and I won’t be working a part-time job, which I did for nine months of 2021.

2. Finish Hive Five. That's my novel, by the way. It would be about damned time. If I’m writing all those words, this goal will work nicely with my first goal. However, at some point, there’s going to be more editing than writing, meaning working on the book will be in addition to the writing.

3. Read 104 books. The more I read, the better I’ll write. And since I’m focusing on novel writing, I should be reading books rather than short stories. Not that I’m forsaking shorts, but the novel is the priority. However, I’m pretty sure I’ve never read 104 books in a year in my life. If I have, it was when I was a wee lad, and the books were much thinner with many more pictures. I think I usually average between 40 and 50 books a year. Soooo... yeah. There are also some specific books I want to read, but I won’t bog you down in details here.

4. Have 50 patrons (at the same time). I have 22 as of this writing. Here’s a goal you can help me with. I absolutely suck at getting folks to join my Patreon at patreon.com/matthewsanbornsmith. Hint, hint. This year I’m going to try YouTube, doing very short videos of myself reading Mango stories, with the Patreon link for all to see, and a quick pitch at the end. I wanted to start this a month ago, but projects and people in the house tripped me up. I plan to get the first one out on Monday. The one that’s two days from now. I’ll post it for you and ask you to share.

5. Weigh 225 pounds (and don’t get heavier after I do). I’ve gained weight over the holidays and I’m currently at 237. (I’m 6' 2" if anyone cares.) Weight is harder to keep down since my full-time retail days when I was walking constantly (Once, on a double shift, I walked eleven miles in a day just inside the store. I got depressed and put aside my pedometer after that.) So, exercise a little more. Try to restrain my eating habits a little more (one of the biggest challenges of my life).

6. Write 52 blog posts on The One-Thousand. I’m already on my way with this post! I’ve severely neglected my blog, and I need to spend less time on social media, so this will be good for me, even if no one reads it. But you’ll read it, won’t you? Won’t you?!?

7. Get my A.A. in English. Of all my goals, this is the easiest. I only have one class to go and it starts in a few days (damn it!). The bad part is, until I’m done in the end of April, it’s going to take time away from my other time-needy goals. Man, I hate school! That’s why it’s taken me so long to get here.

That’s it. I have little faith in myself to accomplish even two of these goals, so that’s a great place to start. Here’s hoping I surprise the shit out of myself. As I said yesterday, you don’t win or lose in a year. You win or lose moment to moment, with each decision you make. Too often, I cave to my animal wants (eating, sleeping, legal naked stuff) instead of doing the necessary work. All I need to do to make some progress is to overcome the animal a little more of the time. So, good luck to me.

If you’re a yearly goal or resolution person, I wish you luck too. Some people don’t even bother setting themselves up like that because they know they’ll fail, but I can’t imagine not wanting to improve things. Even if I fail, my attempts at succeeding put me farther ahead than I otherwise would have been.

Let’s all have a great year!

Friday, December 31, 2021

A Brief Rundown Of My 2021

I wrote about 115,000 words in 2021, around a third of my goal. I finished six stories and made thirty-six submissions. I sold two stories and a reprint, and had three stories published.
Of those 115,000 words, approximately 89,000 were for my Patreon patrons, whether it was for the forty-eight Mango episodes I wrote, the twenty-four flash fiction pieces, or the fifty or so Sunday Updates. My Patreon words added up to the equivalent of a shortish novel.

I’m very happy that my kids and I remained Covid-free in 2021. Precaution and luck. I accumulated nine more college credits. I got a little promotion at the library and was able to quit my part-time job in October, which brought to an end a misery-filled 33-year retail career. That was the best thing I did in 2021.

I’m disappointed overall. I always fall short of my big plans. Falling short doesn’t happen in a year, it happens moment to moment with every decision, and readers of my Sunday Updates can see my spotty productivity over the weeks. But the things I did do were all positive and I continued to move forward. Tomorrow, I’ll post my brief but unreasonable goals for 2022.

I hope we all have a great 2022. Onward and upward.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

From Nowhere, A Cultural Connection

I just heard "West End Girls" by the Pet Shop Boys for the first time in decades, and I thought, Holy shit! This is what Flight of the Conchords grabbed from to make "Inner City Pressure!" Now, I know you don't give two fucks either way, but pretend you're trapped in a basement with nothing but a television that's playing these two videos. I'm right, aren't I?

 




Monday, October 25, 2021

183

Story 183 is out to seek its fortune. It's called "Clayground." It's a humorous (I hope) flash piece about a city that tries to save money by building a playground out of clay.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

182

I finished story 182, "That Feeling You're Feeling," and sent it out. It's about a guy who captures snapshots of people's emotions when they're absolutely miserable, then posts them for his subscribers. His life is about to shift around him. I'm pretty happy with it. Let's see how it does. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

New Stories

 My story, "I Was Meant to Live Another Thousand Years," is up at Kaleidotrope right now. Take a look: https://kaleidotrope.net/summer-2021/i-was-meant-to-live-another-thousand-years-by-matthew-sanborn-smith/

In the past couple of weeks I've written a couple of short pieces. A twitfic called "Afterglow," (Number 180 of the One-Thousand) and a flash piece (unless you feel 1,400 words is too long for a flash piece) called "Tempus Fuhg It."  (181)

Colonoscopy tomorrow! How exciting. An all-translucent liquid diet yesterday and today, three(!) rounds of laxatives, and a sore bum-bum.