Because I Simply Don’t Talk Enough.

So here’s the thing:

I’m turning this blog into a podcast. I bought the domain over at http://www.ClaireDeLunacy.com and I’ve migrated this blog over there.

In addition to the occasional scribblings you get from me here (or, er, there, in the future at least), there will be (God help us all) the Claire De Lunacy podcast. That’s right, a whole hour, every week, of yours truly, with call-in guests (it’s true!), some commentary, and a few new surprises (e.g., every tenth caller is randomly either hugged by a stripper,  hit in the stomach by a large, angry Hungarian, or given the power of flight*).

Every week starting NEXT SUNDAY, MAY 2nd, 2010, I’ll be hosting an hour-long free-for-all discussion covering topics (in no particular order) that I’ve posted here on Claire De Lunacy.

I already have the call-in set up, I’ll be posting the info as we get closer to the big day. In the interim, my dear, sweet friends, ruminate on these topics:

1) The hubbub surrounding Israel Luna’s odious “transploitation” film “Ticked Off Trannies with Knives.”

2) Clash of the Smitin’s: Unnecessary Remakes and Why They Suck.

3) And speaking of Things That Should Not Be™, a whole new slew of, er, Things That Should Not Be™ (got a nomination? SEND IT TO ME…NAO!)

4) LGBTidbits™ (Those of you familiar with my Twitter feed will recognize this topic. Everyone else, just be prepared to discuss the week’s LGBT news. Well, I mean, not SUPER prepared. There won’t be a quiz or anything.)

5) The Super-Fun Book Club of Fun-ness™ returns! Our book for the month of May is “American Lion,” a very compelling biography of Andrew Jackson by Jon Meachem (you don’t have to read the entire book for the first podcast, we’ll be discussing it in general and also you get to sit and listen to me explain how the SFBCOF™ works…I know, I know – does the fun ever START?)

6) Random Review: NetFlix for the Wii Or, as I like to call it, “My television’s desperate final ploy to remain relevant to my existence.” (as ploys go, it’s surprisingly effective)

7) SPECIAL BONUS TOPIC!  CASTING: UR DOIN IT WRONG We’ll be discussing how remakes SHOULD be cast, as well as remakes we’d like to see, and a whole bunch of other nerdy stuff that will make the non-nerdy among you (should you exist) throw up your hands and say “But I LIKE Matthew McCan’tActy as Dirk Pitt!

Eventually, I’ll be taking these podcasts into Audacity to strip out all the “erms,” and “uhhhs” and “Doyyyy” sounds. But for the first month or so, it’s the Wild effing West, baby! (something tells me that we’ll earn our “Explicit” rating within the first ten minutes. I know how you think, Hordelings!)

Each week’s info will also be posted to the web site, so don’t get your collective panties in a bunch if there’s something we natter on about that catches your…ear(?) and you don’t have a pencil handy.

I hope to hear from you, friends. It’s sure to be a fun time, or at least more entertaining than having your pinkie torn off by an iPad thief.**

*No, not really.
** OK, to be fair, some people might get off on that, so I will say it’s LIKELY to be more fun. You sick bastards.

Buzz Watch: Apple’s new iThingy

A gracious good day to you, readers.

If you’re like me, you’ll have noted with a queasiness-inducing blend of anticipation and trepidation the shift in media attention away from the plight of Haiti and toward the latest beeping gadget. That’s right, Apple has unleashed its latest Hipster Douchebag accessory: The iPad.

Or possibly the iTablet.

Or even, God help us all, the iCan.

Whatever it’s called, its potential capabilities have been the subject of endless speculation (or in my case, limited, off-the-cuff speculation for the purposes of comedic exploitation). To wit:

Features of the new iPad/iTablet/iCan/iCan’tBelieveISpent1,000DollarsOnThis

1) Recharges if you hold it aloft & shout “BY THE POWER OF CUPERTINO!” Also: your cat morphs into a badass tiger.

2) Will only open if you recite “Klaatu barada nikto” first. Otherwise, you might want to call Bruce Campbell.

3) Will come in 3 exciting colors: Chill Cherry, Awesome Orange and Bewildered Buyer’s Remorse Blueberry.

4) Will be engraved with the missing Five Commandments (e.g. “Thou Shalt Not Totally Destroy Thy Planet”).

5) Creates holographic friends to replace those you lose because you spend all your time on your damned iTablet.

6) Glows an ethereal blue whenever orcs are nearby.

7) Will not transform into a creepy robot and steal your identity and girlfriend while you sleep. Probably.

8 ) Makes that cool Star Trek “whistle-whoosh” noise whenever any nearby door opens.

9) Will obey Asimov’s three laws, unless you piss it off, buster.

10) Sifts through your address book and deletes all the people with whom you are now too cool to be seen.

11) Will love you and hug you and name you George.

12) Grants you a permanent +5 to your Hipster Cred stat, plus a free small latte at paticipating Starbucks™.

13) Opens a portal to an alternate universe where the State of the Union Address ISN’T depressing as hell.

14) Will be sun-powered. Not solar powered – there will be an actual tiny sun inside. So, y’know, get a mitt.

15) Will sing you softly to sleep & will happily open the podbay doors – as long as you don’t betray it, Dave.

16) Boasts an all-celebrity cast for its reader. First up: Keanu reads “Moby Dick” “Duude…call me, like, Ishmael.”

17) Grants you access to the tiny door that leads to the inside of Steve Jobs’ head.

18) Gives you a fuller, shinier coat, and protects you from heartworm.

19) Has an Oppenheimer app that will allow you to become Shiva, Destroyer of Worlds. Plus, Sudoku!

20) Will grant you immortality and transform your enemies into fresh-baked blueberry muffins.

[Originally posted by yours truly as part of a Twitter trend tag, #iTabletMyths]

OSI: “Chaos”

I’m once again participating in the poetry fun over at One Single Impression. If you enjoy poems and awesomeness of various stripes, why not pay them a visit?

This is my first post of 2010. Long time readers of this blog will recognize my natural inability to meet most deadlines, which, when coupled with my nigh-pathological avoidance of anything like real work or significance, leads to things like my first blog post of the year arriving in the middle of that year’s first month. What can I say, my life is chaos.

Chaos (she segued so smoothly that she might’ve almost planned it) is, incidentally, the prompt this week over at One Single Impression. Many people think of “chaos” as swirling, netherworldly darkness, a vortex of inescapable doubt and confusion from which nothing, not even light, can emerge unscathed.

So, basically, the inside of Pat Robertson’s head.

Of course, I was also a Dungeons & Dragons fan as a kid (you’re shocked, I know…luckily I am wearing my +8 Kirtle of Snarkslaying), and a bit of a dimestore philosopher, so I am aware that chaos is not purely a force for evil. I refuse to expose myself to Ashton Kutcher in any form, but I am also familiar with Chaos Theory, aka “The Butterfly Effect,” in which a butterfly flaps its wings somewhere on the planet and, via chain reaction, changes the weather elsewhere (although my personal “butterfly effect” reference will forever be “A Sound of Thunder.” Now THAT’S a butterfly effect!) .

Chaos leads to change, which can be ameliorative as well as destructive. It’s just surviving the change so you have a chance to appreciate the improvement that’s the trick. With that in mind, I give you:

CHAOS

Witness: a tableau
The iron wheel of time stops,
Suspended.  And yet.

Life, though stilled, goes on.
And sitting at your table,
In the Springtime sun,

You see quite clearly
Every crystalline droplet
As your wine glass falls,

Spinning toward Earth
In a vermillion fan, an
Impromptu Pollock.

Perfect spheres of red
Orbiting a frozen wave
Of luminescence.

One drop goes astray
Its shadow hangs over your
New cream-colored pump.

The glass itself a
Bar of coruscating flame
Imprisoning sunlight.

All of it beyond
Your reach, just past the tips of
Your straining fingers.

You hear it, then. Whoosh.
Soft, yet powerful; a breeze
Caresses your cheek.

And time’s pitted wheel
Returns to its soft-edged rut
Lights, camera, action.

And then she is there,
Apologetic and lithe
“I’m sorry,” she says

Through cherry lips, quirked
“I should watch where I’m going.”
Dropping you a wink.

And in that moment,
As ebony lashes meet
her porcelain cheek,

You hear it once more
Gentle susurration; the
flap of velvet wings.

And in its wake, your
Tableau for One becomes
a Table for Two


What is Awesome to you?

Hola, faithful readers!

One of the multiple hats I wear on the dark entity known as Twitter is that of the Awesommolier. What, you may ask, is the Awesommolier?

“None of your bee’s wax!” I will say. Then I will remember that I want you to read it, and shrug while smiling sheepishly.

The Awesommolier is an outgrowth of an idea I had for Follow Friday on Twitter. For those of you with actual lives, Follow Friday is a Twitter tradition wherein one recommends other Twitter users one thinks others would benefit from following. In order to instruct The Faithful Horde on who I thought they should I follow, I created the Awesommolier, a role in which I endorse things and people found to be Awesome in my sight.

About a week ago, a friend of mine said to me, “If these things and people are so awesome, you should tell people more about them, instead of just saying “Yo, Horde, this website/vegetable/Eastern European Glamor Model is awesome!”

So, taking their suggestion to heart, I have created The Awesommolier, a weekly blog dedicated to finding and sharing things I find awesome (while also supporting charity; by clicking on the Socialvibe link, you can help sick kids heal through, and learn more about, the arts).

I’m currently accepting suggestions, so if you’ve got anything you think other folks would love to learn more about, I’ll be publishing this week’s issue on Friday, October 23rd. Write-ups and pics are welcome; in future editions, I plan to partake of all things awesome in order to give a real first-person report for the curious and timid.

If it is awesome, and others should be sharing in it, we aim to let you all know! Send me your nouns, your verbs, even your gerunds to the e-mail at left, via this blog, or on Twitter (@LaBarceloneta).

In Which Our Heroine Enters The Fashion Industry

That's right, I actually spent time designing this.

That's right, I actually spent time designing this.

And by “fashion industry,” I of course mean “the novelty t-shirt business.”

That’s right, faithful readers! You can now get a brand-spankin’ new t-shirt emblazoned with my NEW design, “Tweetar®.” Some pals and I came up with this one day a few weeks back, and I decided what the world needs is another shirt, one that teaches as well as entertains.

Because I’m cool like that.

Oh, and also because I need filthy lucre to finance my other, more ambitious projects.

Do you appreciate the Awesome? Do you speak or at least appreciate Español? Do you have some spare cash you’d just spend on candy or lottery tickets anyway, you undisciplined mook?

Well, then, why not blow it on one of my awesome t-shirts instead?

Stop by today, and you’ll be conjugating Tweetar® along with the best of ‘em in no time!

http://www.cafepress.com/LaBarceloneta

[The preceding was a paid announcement. No warranty given or implied, although if I see you wearing my shirt I WILL give you a hug and dance around in a circle, so probably best to keep a jacket with you at all times.]

I’m Not Just A Member, I’m Also The President

So here’s the thing, kids.

I have, over the years of scratching a path into the dirt on this blue rock,  organized a series of book clubs. They have all come to untimely ends, and I’d like to say it was because schedules got in the way, or the selections were terrible, or I have a bad habit of  pontificating at length about some bit of literary minutia fascinating to me but of incomprehensible and tedious mystery to the rest of the group, but that’s just not the case (except maybe that last one, but come on, it’s ME, people).

No, the reason my book clubs fail is this: I put the cart before the horse.

When I start a book club, I have this vision that we’ll be tucked into cozy chairs somewhere, sipping port, eating fine cheese and water crackers while we discuss the latest selection.  I imagine a roaring fire (or a summer breeze, as the season merits), witty repartee, insightful commentary. I picture a group of like-minded intellectuals mining a book for its treasures, our picks biting deep, unearthing shining bits of truth and wisdom and hilarity.

Now, I know that this sort of thing can smack of elitism, that it can be intimidating or off-putting simply because intellectually rigorous pastimes have become work rather than fun in this country. I know that it can, in the wrong hands, become The Finer Things Club.

And you know what? Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

I LIKE reading. No, I LOVE it.  I love every part of the process – the smell of the paper, the warm solidity of the book in the hand, the ability of a truly well-written story to swallow me up like Jonah’s great fish and spit me out onto the shores of reality hours later, weary but wiser for the experience.

But that’s only half the reading experience – I also enjoy the vivisection of the patient. I like to peep behind the curtain and look at the gears and cogs that make everything dance so prettily. Are the characters fresh, or archetypes we’ve seen before? If they are old friends in new clothing, how has the author made them important to us in this context? What about plot? Dialogue choice? Content, both obscure and familiar? What about thematic and allegorical subtext? Where is the book within the cultural framework on which it rests?

These are the questions that consume me when I read.

Ah, but my members are a different story.

My most recent book club, The Super Fun Book Club of Fun-ness™, fell victim to what I call “Life Intrudes” syndrome. At the time of its death earlier this year, the club was four years old. It consisted entirely of friends from work, and the idea was that we’d meet every six weeks for lunch to discuss a book selected by vote.

By the end, it had devolved considerably. Hardly anyone read the book, and I had to be “Mean Mommy,” breaking up chatter about work, the latest peccadilloes of the Hollywood elite, and television in order to bring the group back to the topic at hand.

I let the club die a silent death this year. Nobody protested. In fact, only one member even asked what had happened to it (my friend Mona, who always read the book and contributed regularly to discussion).

To be fair, my friends are busy women. They have families to raise, other interests to pursue, and limited time in which to accomplish their goals – in short, women who are too busy for a book club, or at least too busy to make the time for one. To measure their wheat by my bushel is not only arrogant but wrong-headed, and so releasing them from the guilt of a “fun” club that they didn’t have room for was my only option.

Which brings us to today. I’ve decided that, rather than gather up my friends and build a book club around them, I am building my club and saying “This is what is expected when you join this club.”  I am building a cart and saying, “all right, which of you lot wants to schlep this thing round the track with me?”

To wit:

I’ve christened this new club “Bibliovore’s Delight.” We meet every six weeks on Saturdays. Membership is open to anyone who agrees to follow the rules of the club, which are as follows:

1) You read the book. The whole thing. Yes, even if Survivor is on and Leroy is trying to steal immunity from Corncob by forming an alliance with Skeeter. If you haven’t read it, don’t bother to show up – or, if you do show up, prepare to have the ending spoiled for you.

2) You digest the book and produce a few germane comments for sharing. You needn’t bring a thesis (even I don’t want to hear “Harry Potter As Christ: Redemption for Muggle and Mage“), but take note of things that caught your fancy (what did you like? What did you hate? Who was your favorite character, and why?).

3) You have an opinion and don’t mind sharing it (or defending it). Literary endeavor is not for sissies. You want to go toe-to-toe over Heathcliff’s sexuality? Want to engage on the morality of George’s choice to kill Lenny? Let the discussion begin! Naturally, civility will be our watchword, but spirited discussion is most welcome indeed.

[By the by, I was referring to Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, but if you've got some sort of dirt on the ersatz Garfield of the same name, we can discuss that, too.]

4) You believe in active, on-topic participation. There will most likely be theme parties for the books we read. I might have a screening of the movie version for comparative discussion. Members may have supplemental material they’d like us to read and then add to the discussion. The point is, this is a club about thoroughly digesting and enjoying books. Wallflowers can stay home.

As this is a club that is democratic in operation but autocratic in administration, I will choose our first book. We’ll be reading Dashiell Hammett’s excellent final novel, The Thin Man (available here, among other places).

The first meeting will be Saturday, August 15th, 2009 (location TBD) at 6 PM.

Those of you in the Dayton area are welcome to join me physically for the meeting (we’ll most likely have dinner and drinks before/during/after as necessary).

For those of you too distant to join us, I’m on MSN (Claire.M.Jackson@hotmail.com) and will be happy to friend you!

We’ll be doing a live video chat of the meeting via Windows Live Messenger from my laptop, so our more remote members can chime in!

I’ve set up a club site over at Book Movement...e-mail me for details!

If you’re a serious reader who’s looking for serious book-related fun, I hope you’ll join me as I launch Bibliovore’s Delight.

Happy Reading!

Guestastic!

Faithful Readers:

Later this week, Claire De Lunacy will be celebrating its first blogiversary.  It’s been an interesting year, full of adventures with the courts and virtual attempts to bike to Mormon-filled deserts.  I’ve changed, the world has changed, and so have all of you (except for this guy).

To celebrate my first blogiversary, I’ll be featuring a week of guest posts starting Wednesday next (June 3rd) and concluding on the following Wednesday (June 10th). I’ve got a couple pieces of short fiction, some commentary, and more!

Plus, to commemmorate this (ahem) momentous occasion, I’ll be publishing a FULL-LENGTH short story from the Circe universe on the last day, June 10th.

Each day, I’ll briefly introduce each guest author and then let their words flow. As always, commentary from the readers is both welcome and encouraged.

I hope you’ll join us for the week’s festivities!

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