Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Be Ryan Oakley - Ghostwrite for The Grumpy Owl


I started my come back well enough, at least in terms of how often I posted. I still didn't find my groove as far as post topics were concerned, but I was willing to give it time. I actually even had a few things (that I thought were interesting) brewing.

And then, the markets tanked and I got real busy at work. Since the days were so full, it was hard to do anything in the evening, and I just needed to clear my head -- usually that entailed mostly reading with a bit of TV. I just couldn't look at the computer past a certain hour, except maybe to play Mahjong or Chess.

But today, a good friend quit being himself. I have often mentioned Ryan Oakley and his blog The Grumpy Owl here. Ryan is a good friend and a fellow writer. And Ryan wants to hire you as a ghostwriter.

The idea behind it has many aspects:
  • You get to be Ryan Oakley. You get to make him say things.
    In return, Ryan gets the benefit of different point of views, the benefit of diversification. No longer a white, catholic male, but perhaps a woman, an Asian, a Muslim, Ryan can be anything, anywhere.
  • You get to say things you never dreamed you would actually express -- anonymously.
    Ryan, just like a politician reading a prepared speech, will assume the words -- your words -- and never reveal who wrote them.
  • Unless you choose incomprehensible bigotry, you will not be edited.
    Ryan Oakley gives his word as a gentleman that your name will never be revealed and that all posts will go under his name as if he wrote them. Complete confidentiality.
  • No rules, no guidelines. Write whatever you want. Anything you ever wanted to say but were too embarrassed to even admit to yourself you had such thoughts!
    You are Ryan Oakley and he takes responsibility for your own words, as offensive as they may be.
    Use Ryan Oakley and the platform he gives you to voice some things you never dared!
And of course, being me, I have to add my little nasty twist to it. What you ghostwrite as Ryan doesn't necessarily have to be offensive. Declare your secret love for Barbies or your crush on Lindsay Lohan and let's see how he deals with that!

For more info and how to contact Ryan, go here.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

The future of reading; the future of books

Recently, I came across a blog post in a more finance-oriented blog that related to the future of media. The blogger, aware his sample size of his own three children don't really constitute any meaningful, scientific source, didn't really come to any conclusion, but rather to several suppositions about the future of media.

The post is rather interesting with respect to all media and entertainment types, but naturally I was really interested in what the written word. Here's what he said from his finance point of view:

- mass market magazines might be undervalued. [...]
- books may be the one category of media and entertainment that aren't
disrupted by digital technology. or maybe we just haven't seen the technology
that will do it. i honestly don't know. and i don't know how the book business
is faring versus five or ten years ago. but at least in my family, books are
still a growth sector.

I've compared my own sample size of 8 nieces and nephews (the ninth is three-month old tomorrow, so I didn't count her yet :). With respect to digital media, the post was bang on. With respect to magazines, I didn't find a similarity. As for books, I find that depended more on the house the kids grow up in, but most are avid readers.

Alas, statistics is not proving our small sample size. Americans (not sure if that represents "world," but it was easiest to find) are indeed reading less, as I think we've all been feeling. Interestingly, "teen fiction is a rapidly expanding category," but that can be attributed, at least in part, to Harry Potter. Overall, there is a decline in sales according to the National Endowment for the Arts report. One saving grace is that reading scores among nine-year olds are soaring.

So, what is the future of books and reading? Would there be alternatives to fiction?

I'm pretty sure print will not decline in favor of digital books, which is fine -- reading is reading -- but fiction itself - will anyone be reading?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Different isn't necessarily art

One of my dad's longest running jokes, or maybe I should say 'sayings,' is about movies he doesn't like. You have to understand that he doesn't like about 90% of them, so I've heard this often. Anyways, the saying goes something like this:
It's a masterpiece; the master has left, the piece remained.

Well, the other day I found myself saying something similar about the latest Coen brothers movie, No Country for Old Men. I thought the movie really sucked. About ten seconds into the film I found it boring (during the first narrative). About a minute or two into it, I told hubby I didn't want to see it (already there were two murders and I knew the movie was going to be bad, as in mean).
I stayed and watched the whole thing though. The movie was two hours long. Two hours too long in my opinion.

Anyways, our friends -- and as I understand it many other people too -- found the movie very good and artistic. You know, hubby tried to explain their opinion to me, it's different. People think it's one of those artsy phartsy movies. I said, sure, only there was no artsy, just phartsy.

Many say the movie was different. I say it just sucked, but because there were some "artistic" elements often found in real art films, people confuse the issue. It saddens me because I do generally like Coen Bros' movies and this one has a plot line similar to Fargo, one of my all-time favourite movies, with a small town cop that goes after a ruthless murderer. The difference here is that another person gets involved.

Let's start with characters. They were all shallow and one-dimensional. The bad guy was just -- bad with no other qualities. The two protagonists weren't much better, their motives unclear.

The dialogue - what dialogue?

The description - ok, here I must agree that the cinematography was good, as was the acting - superb!

The plot was interesting, but lacked any redeeming qualities to make up for all the horrors subjected to when watching the film. It lacked that something that binds it all together.

As a whole, the movie lacked that je ne sais quoi quality that makes something work. Perhaps it was the lack of heart in both character and plot, lack of any redeeming quality that could give the viewer hope. There was no soul.

So no, No Country for Old Men isn't art, it just isn't good. I wish people didn't confuse feeling alienated by a movie with calling it art. If it was a book, I guarantee people would just stop reading it. Even the harshest books I've read, with the worst endings possible, left me with some emotional bond to one character or another despite losing hope for it, or for mankind - 1984. There was none of that here.

Well ... I think you got me by now. Feel free to disagree of course.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Giving what can be easily given

Last Friday, a few days before the new year, I received a phone call from the Canadian Blood Services, asking me to come in and donate blood.

For some reason, I was elated. It has been a while since I've given blood, even though it was always on my to do list this past year. My feelings probably had a lot to do with Patry Francis from Simply Wait, who has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Although this is not direct help to Patry (and in hopes she will never need such help), giving blood helps not only trauma and surgery patients but many cancer patients too.

Unfortunately, due to being in a malaria-risk zone as I roamed through a certain Latin American / Caribbean country jungle, I was ineligible. I will have to wait until a year had passed since my swim under the falls. That would be in March.

Meanwhile, Laura Benedict has come up with the idea of blogging for Patry. The date set is January 29, when her novel, The Liar's Diary, will be released in paperback. So far it seems that a large group of bloggers will be part of this as Litpark lists them. Anyone can join.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Waiting to be contacted - is there anybody out there?

Are you going to excuse me for a moment if I'm going to act like a total girly-girl?
Well, I don't care!

OMG, OMG! (Could you see me jump up and down with glee?)

Well, this is truly an honor. Blog in Space chose All Kinds of Writing, just like that, out of the blue as one that would most likely be contacted.

Well, you know the importance I put on space exploration, and you know what a geek I can be, so this sudden official "Most Likely to be Contacted" badge when I only just resumed blogging two weeks ago or so, is just freaking amazing.

Well, no one can't deny that I haven't made the first steps. After all, I've written a blog and submitted it for transmission in space.

Now, all I have to do is wait. To be contacted of course. I'm taking this all very seriously!

Here are some space/science posts I'm really proud of for those who think Blog In Space was wrong:
Now if these posts didn't convince you or Them (you know, Them) that I deserve to be contacted, I don't know what will.

Still waiting ...

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