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Edmund Fitzgerald

The Edmund Fitzgerald

My first encounter with Gor­don Lightfoot’s clas­sic song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzger­ald” was actu­al­ly read­ing the lyrics pub­lished as a poem in a high-school Eng­lish read­er. (I had a sim­i­lar expe­ri­ence with Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence”, though I think I’d prob­a­bly heard that one on the radio, my dad being an afi­ciona­do of the ’60s sta­tion KY58.)

So for Throw­back Thurs­day, please, enjoy this tale of human woe and the sink­ing of a mas­sive freighter in a storm on (spoil­er alert!) Lake Supe­ri­or.

Head­er image from Wiki­me­dia Com­mons, CC-Attri­bu­tion-Share­alike, orig­i­nal­ly by Green­mars.

Bad Times at the El Royale

Still from Bad Times at the El Royale

Final­ly, last night, I watched Bad Times at the El Royale. Back when I first saw the trail­er, I thought it was an Evans movie for sure, but it end­ed up play­ing at the mul­ti­plex down the street instead, for all of two weeks. I man­aged to miss it. Now I regret not see­ing it on the big screen.

El Royale takes place at a hotel in Lake Tahoe, on the bor­der between Neva­da and Cal­i­for­nia. The bor­der lit­er­al­ly bisects the hotel. Rooms on the Cal­i­for­nia side are $1 more per night.

The movie opens with a priest, a singer, and a vac­u­um-clean­er sales­man try­ing to check in, one love­ly after­noon in 1969, but the clerk is nowhere to be found. Once they do track him down, a fourth guest appears, and she’s got some bag­gage. Well, they all have bag­gage, but the fourth woman appears to have kid­napped some­one.

Of course, this is a noir-ish thriller, and no one—not even the venue—is who they seem to be.

I quite enjoyed El Royale. It felt a lot like a Quentin Taran­ti­no movie, but it was writ­ten and direct­ed by Drew God­dard. God­dard man­aged to take all the good things about a QT movie—colours, music, sud­den vio­lent twists—and dis­card the end­less solil­o­quies. It real­ly makes for a tight, nasty thriller, and it’s just the thing I was look­ing for.

If you like vio­lence, secrets, thun­der­storms, ’60s music, and vio­lence, it might be just what you’re look­ing for too.

Head­er image from The Movie DB.

The game’s afoot

My copy of Good Omens, signed in Dec. 2009 by Neil Gaiman

A quick quote for Throw­back Thurs­day:

God does not play dice with the uni­verse; He plays an inef­fa­ble game of His own devis­ing, which might be com­pared, from the per­spec­tive of any of the oth­er play­ers, to being involved in an obscure and com­plex ver­sion of pok­er in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infi­nite stakes, with a Deal­er who won’t tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.

From Good Omens, by Ter­ry Pratch­ett and Neil Gaiman

Wintry

Jack Frost visited my windowpanes.

Some­times it’s hard to see the beau­ty in win­ter, which is why I like tak­ing pho­tos of things like hoar on trees and frost on win­dow­panes (like the pho­to above).

Oth­er­wise, it’s too easy to feel like this—

My cold-weather gear when it's -25 or -30 C

—when the tem­per­a­ture dips to -30°C in the morn­ings.

Green Things

Gene Cernan in the Lunar Rover

For the first time in my life­time, there are liv­ing things on the moon.

Con­sid­er: Apol­lo 17, the last crewed mis­sion to the moon, left the lunar sur­face in Decem­ber 1972. (I was born the next year.)

And now? Now, right now, in Jan­u­ary 2019, seeds have sprout­ed in a Chi­nese rover on the far side of the moon.

Head­er image: Gene Cer­nan in the Lunar Rover. Tak­en by NASA, and in the pub­lic domain.

William Gibson: Grand Master

William Gibson

It’s got a nice ring to it.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to William Gib­son, one of my favourite authors, on the announce­ment that he has been named the lat­est Damon Knight Grand Mas­ter by the Sci­ence Fic­tion Writ­ers of Amer­i­ca.

The Damon Knight Memo­r­i­al Grand Mas­ter Award rec­og­nizes “life­time achieve­ment in sci­ence fic­tion and/or fan­ta­sy.” Gib­son joins the Grand Mas­ter ranks along­side such leg­ends as C. J. Cher­ryh, Peter S. Bea­gle, Ursu­la K. Le Guin, Isaac Asi­mov, Ray Brad­bury, and Joe Halde­man. The award will be pre­sent­ed at the 54th Annu­al Neb­u­la Con­fer­ence and Awards Cer­e­mo­ny in Wood­land Hills, CA, May 16th-19th, 2019.

Via Tor.com, here’s the offi­cial announce­ment.

Head­er pho­to by Nik­ki Tysoe, used under a CC-BY license.

Bye, Flickr

tl;dr: "Buy a Pro account or we'll delete over 2,500 of your photos"

I’ve been a Flickr mem­ber since almost its incep­tion. I signed up some­time in 2004. I’ve been there through it all, and most­ly enjoyed my time.

But when the new own­ers (ie, Smug­Mug) tell me they’re going to start delet­ing my pho­tos if I don’t pony up for a Pro account, well, that’s it. I’m out.

Bad move, Smug­Mug.

(Aside to Mr. Pen­sato: I’ve been doing a bit more work on Blinky.)

PS: I’m in the process of mov­ing my pho­tos off Flickr and onto my own per­son­al site (ie, this one). So I’m not going to lose sleep over the whole “your pho­tos are get­ting delet­ed” thing. Let me know if you’re inter­est­ed in the sim­ple Word­Press plu­g­in I’ve built in order to pull my pho­tos.