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Parallel Prairies

Parallel Prairies cover

Some­time this fall, my short sto­ry “Vin­cent and Char­lie” will appear in Great Plains Pub­li­ca­tions’ new anthol­o­gy Par­al­lel Prairies edit­ed by Dar­ren Ridge­ly and Adam Petrash.

My story’s ele­va­tor pitch is “ET, with a retired farmer with demen­tia in the role of Elliott”.

Pre-order from: McNal­ly Robin­son | Amazon.ca

Once I have more details about how & where to order, launch­es, etc, I’ll be sure to post them.

Tomorrowland

Still from Tomorrowland

On the week­end I final­ly watched Disney’s Tomor­row­land. I sort-of remem­bered its the­atre run, which was under­whelm­ing (appar­ent­ly it lost over $100 mil­lion dol­lars, based on its pro­duc­tion and mar­ket­ing costs vs. its box-office take).

The sto­ry in a nut­shell: As a boy, Frank Walk­er goes to live in a retro-future par­adise, till he’s boot­ed out for some crime that remains unspec­i­fied until near­ly the end of the movie. He grows up into a bit­ter, bit­ter man (played by George Clooney). Mean­while, Casey (Britt Robert­son) might be the key to Frank’s return to Tomor­row­land, and also the key to, you know, staving off the seem­ing­ly inevitable end of the world. Fac­ing off against them is Nix (Hugh Lau­rie) and his army of skin­jobs Audio-Ani­ma­tron­ic robots.

I thought it was a decent movie, worth a watch, even if it was unsub­tle. The scene in the Texas col­lectibles store (Blast From the Past), where Casey squares off against evil AA ’bots Hugo and Ursu­la, was chock­ablock with reminders that Dis­ney bought Star Wars. Some of the AAs were pret­ty creepy, espe­cial­ly the man­i­cal­ly-grin­ning leader of the Men-in-Black–styled “Secret Ser­vice” squad.

In a world that seems to pre­fer its enter­tain­ment on the grim & grit­ty side, opti­mistic SF is a hard sell. It has a ten­den­cy to come off preachy or heavy-hand­ed, and this movie didn’t man­age to evade those pit­falls. I’m still glad I watched it, though.

It’s an inter­est­ing com­pan­ion to Elan Mastai’s All Our Wrong Todays, which I read a few months ago, in that both explore the idea of alter­nate futures, espe­cial­ly the sorts of futures we seemed to expect in the 1950s (fly­ing cars! shin­ing tow­ers! per­son­al jet­packs!).

Superbeast

I dis­cov­ered on the track today that this song (“Super­beast”, by Rob Zom­bie) per­fect­ly match­es my run­ning* pace.

It’s extra fun­ny when you con­sid­er that, as I was leav­ing the house this morn­ing, my wife said, “Enjoy run­ning… for your life!

 


* Fine, jog­ging pace.

 

Sabotage (Memories of JJ, #8)

Dad loved cop shows from the ’70s and ’80s. He wasn’t a big fan of ’80s and ’90s music, though. So imag­ine my sur­prise, one day, when, home for a week­end, I heard the dul­cet tones of the Beast­ie Boys com­ing from the TV that he was watch­ing. It was such an odd occur­rence, in fact, that it took me a moment to rec­og­nize what I was hear­ing.

Then it clicked: it was the break­down in “Sab­o­tage”.

I came out of my room just in time for the lyrics to start up again, and Dad, real­iz­ing he’d been tricked, switched the chan­nel.

I get it, though. It sure does look like an ’80s cop show.

A markèd improvement

Eye (photo by Vanessa Bumbeers)

I had laser eye surgery per­formed on the week­end. Today was my sec­ond fol­low-up appoint­ment with the opthal­mol­o­gist.

My vision is now sit­ting at 2016 with both eyes, which is appar­ent­ly a step bet­ter than 2020 or “per­fect” vision. I gath­er that the 2016 means that I can see at 20 feet what a nor­mal per­son can see at 20 feet.

I had a look at the doc­u­ments the doc­tor pro­vid­ed. Before the surgery, my good eye was at 20400. My bad eye, well, they didn’t even both­er with a 20/number, just marked OF 2ft (I assume “out of focus at two feet”).

Now all I need to do is get used to a life with­out glass­es.

(That’s not my eye­ball. Pho­to by Vanes­sa Bum­beers on Unsplash)