Books I’ve Published – 2013

I already have these books listed on My Book Shelf page, but most of you folks don’t visit that (the numbers don’t lie), so I figured I’d do something I rarely do these days, and actually post a link farm. I apologize for those hoping for a new, proper post from me, but I’m a little out of sorts and not feeling too chatty. Included with these links are the brief summaries I wrote for these books a week or two ago:

THE BACK ROADS OF LIMBO
A series of short stories and novellas about spies, sultans, genies, detectives, bad angels, a man’s best friend, the God of Squirrels, Christmas dinner for two, thieves, sorceresses, lost children, working while you sleep, writer’s block, soul-eating vampires, and a giant squid.
PRINT | KINDLE

TERMINAL MONDAY: a Dream of New York City
A man meets an old girlfriend who convinces him to return to novel writing, but not before his wife leaves him, he gets his old band back together, and suffers a nervous breakdown.
PRINT | KINDLE | KOBO | NOOK | SONY | APPLE | SMASHWORDS

TERMINAL MONDAY: Under Observation
A man has a mental breakdown and wakes up to find himself under observation in a New York City hospital.
KINDLE | KOBO | NOOK | SONY | APPLE | SMASHWORDS

ASHES: Infinite Redress
A scientist becomes infected by a space-borne virus that contains the soul of an alien missionary who bonds with her and draws her into solving the mystery of how the aliens all died.
KOBO | NOOK | SONY | APPLE | SMASHWORDS

The BRIDE of WAR
A knight falls in love with a young woman designated to be sacrificed to a mystical dragon, and undertakes a quest to learn how to defeat the dragon and break the centuries-old pact.
PRINT | KINDLE | KOBO | NOOK | SONY | APPLE | SMASHWORDS

LINKTALES volume one
(excerpts from The Dark Guild) A series of mysterious events lead to the old city of Londonis being invaded by soul-eating vampires.
KINDLE | KOBO | NOOK | SONY | APPLE | SMASHWORDS

You know what I’m asking you to do. Please. Thank you.

Lee.

Posted in Books, One a Day, Writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

You Never Give Me Your Money… You Only Give Me Your Funny Paper

STATE of the LIMBO ADDRESS(es):

I write fiction. You can find it in the following places:
KINDLE | KOBO | NOOK | SONY | APPLE | PRINT | SMASHWORDS

I do Graphic Design, cartooning and painting. You can see a gallery of some of my work here:

http://blog.clearvisionstudios.net/about/clearvision-studios/

I also also make music. You can hear it here:

and you can buy some of it here:

http://etceterathesismusic.bandcamp.com/

I can be followed on many social networks. I don’t have a Foursquare account or an Instagram account, but I subscribe to just about everything else. I don’t IM much anymore, so don’t ask.

I post these things for you because I am told people don’t like using mouse buttons. This is alien to me, but I don’t want to alienate any of you aliens, so voilá. Don’t say I never did anything for you. And don’t say I don’t do anything for you now. I already know that.

Lee.

Posted in Art, Canadian Music, Etcetera Thesis Music, Graphic Design, Station Identification, Writing | Leave a comment

The Scarcity of Miracles We Find

So today is looking like a full day, even though I’m still a little under the weather:
Easter-Egg-Hunt-Poster-11x17-colour-03
PBW2-Poster-for-IG-Assemblies-map
PBW2-Poster-for-IG-Assemblies

There is a lot of other stuff happening in the next few days. I’m probably going to be more hands on with the next StinZine issue, and I prepared a demo page to show off how to squeeze over 250 words on a 5.5″x8.5″ page, as well as demonstrate how to handle full size ads in a comic page:
StinZine-lorem-ipsum-demo-002-12-p02-03

The actual pages will be hand drawn, more in this style:
StinZine cover 002 sml

I’ll probably be modifying the cover art a bit and digitally colouring the pages for the website version. I may show a few panels and things over the next month or so, just to show off how it’s done.

I also did a template design to help other designers get to grips with the art chores for their issues, as the StinZine is intended to be produced by different designers for each successive issue:
StinZine-Template---cover

And that’s all I’ve got for today. I’ll be back soon. Thank you for reading.

Lee.

Posted in One a Day, Participatory Budgeting Ward 2, Stinson Community Association, StinZine | Leave a comment

The Generalissimo Is STILL Dead

Chest Muck Plague 2014 part Trois is still in effect. It’s starting to pass, but I’m not out of the woods yet. I’m really quite tired, though.

I cleaned at Mom’s place today, despite illness.

I tried working on processing some old band music this morning. Got about two tracks done. I may need help with this.

My computer keeps blue screening after I shut down The Secret World. Not immediately after. Just, a little while after shutdown, and just as I’m trying to, say, check my email or check social media. Suddenly the screen does video card jenga and then blue screens. It’s happened five or six times in the last two weeks, and I’m not even sure it’s the game itself, so I’ve been trying to fix drivers, update windows, clear caches, and next I’ll probably do a registry cleanup, if I still have the software I used the last few times I needed to clean up the computer. I’ve even settled on the best performance settings for the desktop, so I now have a classic Windows theme instead of Aero, which I am quite fond of. *sigh*

I have a typeface in development, a meeting to discuss the next StinZine publication, and plans to complete my abortive mural plans,s o I can flog off the art on other projects and make a bit of money, if I can. I may make some modifications to facilitate a possible future transferral to a different mural project instead, but it won’t be the same for me, because part of the whole reason for doing it was to make sure Stinson got a great mural out of the whole process, whether it was mine or not. As it is, there’s still a chance, but only two out of the six mural proposals chosen really look right for the space, to my mind. I may submit to future mural projects in Stinson, but it won’t be as record-breaking, because it won’t all be by one artist. *sigh*

I have to get back to work on THE APPROXIMATE DISTANCE TO LIMBO, because I’m feeling a bit like I’m flogging a dead horse with my older novels and such. Time for something new.

And of course, there’s STEEP INCLINATIONS, still in development, and looking like it will take me at least a year to complete at this rate. *sigh* If I had at least one really strong soloist musician in the band, I could probably get a lot more done faster, because all fo the soloing is currently being done by me, and I just don’t have those chops at present.

AND I’m debating volunteering for PBW2 Idea Generation Assemblies. Yeah, I know what I said yesterday, It still counts. But I’m feeling a wee bit guilty for roping my dear friend Rebecca into doing it and then not going forward with it myself. We’ll see.

Think that’s all I’ve got for today. More tomorrow, I hope.

Lee.

Posted in Books of Limbo, Ebooks, Etcetera Thesis Music, Graphic Design, Hamilton, Health, Lettering, Music, One a Day, Participatory Budgeting Ward 2, Steep Inclinations, Stinson Community Association, Stinson Mural Project, StinZine, The Secret World, Video Games, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

She’s Gotta Do What She’s Gotta Do

Still sick. Long political rant. Skip it if you came to see art, read music reviews or learn details about upcoming books and albums.

So I’m looking at my options for civic engagement in the next little while, and thinking that the best thing I can do is go back to writing and recording. My input has become increasingly outdated and strident, and the reality is, my viewpoint is not a popular one. I may manage to win over a few more people in time and get a few things done in my area, at least, that benefit the ward on a certain level. But the truth is, almost no one wants to hear what I have to say. I want a level of activity and participation, and of democratic process, that just isn’t flying in my city right now.

See, I’ve been heavily involved in the Participatory Budgeting (PB) process, and in the Neighbourhood Action Strategy process, for the last couple of years, and both are worthy concepts that could potentially do Hamilton a lot of good. The problem now with both is, they’re being co-opted and coerced into being mere adjuncts to the City process, and they’re losing their way.

SNAP
Here I stand the risk of upsetting certain of my own neighbours, but it’s not without a kernel of necessity.

The Neighbourhood Action Strategy program is working hard in many Code Red-designated ‘Old Hamilton’ neighbourhoods to bring about real, measurable improvements in the lives and health outcomes of impoverished residents in various wards, including, as it happens, my own [Stinson]. There are residents in this neighbourhood who have, in the past, expressed dismay and outright denial at the very idea that there are people living in this neighbourhood that need things changed to improve their lives here. Real differences, like trash disposal, street cleaning, walkable, ridable, drivable streets, and proper paving and lighting in alleyways and under overpasses to ensure that everyone is safe, night and day. The problem is, the City AND the association membership allowed the executive board of 2013 to make a muddle of SNAP (Stinson Neighbourhood Action Plan) program, and almost nothing of note in it has been implemented completely to date, after a year and a half of waiting. Oh, there have been a couple of Park Makeover attempts, but they were half measures, not full restoration/remodelling projects. And the bulk of the work is still upcoming, and only in spite, not in cooperation with the resident committee charged with overseeing it, largely because the committee chair has stamped their feet and dug in their heels too many times over problems that the rest of the committee couldn’t (privately) agree on. One City Coordinator and one Co-Chair later, things are starting to happen at last, but not without disgruntled debate and attempts to once again destabilize the process. And that same Chair is now being put in charge of another high profile committee portfolio. Let the hijinks ensue.

I don’t blame the City project leads involved; the staffers I have dealt with have been nothing short of fantastic and patient. It’s been entirely down to our own mismanagement and a certain typical Canadian reluctance to call certain people out on their petty power struggles and ineffectiveness. The City can’t help us sort ourselves out, and our own ‘democratic’ process was largely suborned last year, and there there are indications that, even though we have a much more progressive and cooperative executive board this year, the players from last year are still trying to derail the SNAP process and make it into their own image of what is ‘good for the neighbourhood’.

As well, there are new members (which we sorely need and don’t want to discourage) who have allied themselves with the old guard, and haven’t figured out yet how detrimental those people are to everything that the neighbourhood now stands for and needs desperately if we’re ever to outlive the whole Code Red designation. It will soon be time to take these new friends aside and try to explain to them what they missed in the last couple of years, and how their interference and block voting is hurting rather than helping make positive changes in our neighbourhood. That should be fun.

PBW2
Here I stand the risk of upsetting a few new friends whom I’d like to cultivate further. But my conscience tells me I’ve allowed this problem to fester too long, so I’m finally going to say something I may live to regret.

The problem with PBW2 2014 is, it’s not being allowed to be properly Participatory. Oh, there will be idea generation assemblies and a sense of community engendered once more, which I wholly support. But the problem is, the residents are being told repeatedly that there are no guarantees that their ideas will be respected and implemented by the City. This is in stark contrast to how the process tried to implement projects in the first year, because a significant number of pedants came out against the proposals that made the 2013 ballot and won last year. From the residents, both in and out of the ward, ranting on the Spectator and Raise The Hammer comment forums, to certain well-meaning Councillors who are either annoyed or embarrassed by the level of participation PBW2 got in its very first year, and posed the threat of doing more of in the following years. We have been told ad nauseum that that

From the start, the new Facilitator and PB Expert have had terms dictated to them that have essentially hobbled their ability to actually run a successful PB Campaign. From the Budgeting session timeline being shortened to (now less than) three months, to the people in charge being told in no uncertain terms that they couldn’t borrow any part of the pre-established process, even for something as simple and essential as labeling the assemblies, which is what they are, something that people could understand. there was a real Baby-with-the-Bath-Water ejection of last year’s process, and we–myself included–allowed the whole process as it was set up to be thrown under the bus for expediency and political points.

Now, for those grumbling that the 2013 process was seriously broken, hear me out for just a second: You have been mostly misinformed. I’m not a great numbers guy, but let me run a few I can almost remember by you:

We had 1024 successful ballots. There were a small number, which I can’t remember, that were invalidated due to not following the directions properly. The first two entire pages of the sample ballot, which many people actually got, even if later than hoped for, outlined pretty clearly how the voting process worked. The only thing it lacked was diagrams.

We got slightly over fifty proposals in all, a little over thirty of which went to the ballot, both independently AND as part of a carefully-considered ‘Compromise’ ballot, which allowed every neighbourhood in the ward to get a fairly even distribution of funds on worthy proposals. The Compromise list won by a small but significant margin, and all of the Compromise proposals were also voted for independently by various residents who forewent the Compromise and chose on their own. I actually saw a small but significant number of flawlessly-executed 25-proposal (the maximum number of proposals that could be chosen on the independent ballot; the Compromise had 21) ballots come in that perfectly demonstrated how the process worked. Total validation.

But there were vocal opponents, both to the Compromise ballot AND to various proposals that either made it or did NOT make it onto the ballot, by both resident outside and even within the PB camp–right from the outset, who refused to recognize that the process was working as intended. They pointed to complicated Bylaws, various meeting booking/scheduling problems and relatively low turnout in several of the participating assemblies in various weeks (much of which had everything to do with operating budget issues, mainly due to printing and the determination to influence the message being delivered by flyers, and continuous miscommunication with City Staff over what dates were good for feasibility assessment) as proof that the process had somehow failed. These vocal opponents heeded the misguided words of various prominent public figures, both online and in the print press, who claimed that ARSCR Fund money was being misappropriated to soft infrastructure tasks that the ARSCR wasn’t set up for. They deliberately ignored that Councillors had previously used the same money for similar soft infrastructure projects at their own discretion. There were also objections voiced about the PB process being run by open, democratic assemblies, instead of being carefully guided by the established neighbourhood associations, only some of whom were truly interested in the process and guiding principles of PB and Direct Democracy.

We were told, after a successful budgeting session including a wildly successful and revolutionary voting process, that we had gotten it wrong, and the City was given leave to take our winning proposals back and started doing what they had been asked to do over two months earlier: to properly vet the projects and make sure they were feasible BEFORE they were put on the ballot. The fact is, the proposals that made it onto the ballot were all vetted by the City, but the communication on so many of them was garbled or virtually non-existent that we were forced to go with what we knew about the proposals, rather than fixing what we were later told were a series of feasibility issues. The money numbers, the approved quantities, the locations… lots of things that went through the entire process the first time and weren’t properly commented or critiqued on before going back to delegation. Our previous Facilitator did his level best to approve for ballot only those proposals that he was certain had passed feasibility assessment, despite a growing communication gap between himself, the City Staff, and even the Ward 2 Councillor, who had started as his greatest ally.

Was the process too complicated? For some, maybe. the process probably can be explained much more simply, though probably not more precisely than it was. For others, the answer is a clear ‘No’. I saw indisputable proof of that in those perfectly-executed ballots. I could show you that proof, even now, if I really had to, though it would require me accessing piles of sensitive data that is slated for shredding soon. The data has been tabulated by Norman Kearney in any case, in spreadsheets constructed on the night of the ballot counting. If he still has those spreadsheets, he’d save me a lot of trouble doing a detailed and highly controversial ballot recount that I’m sure no one in their right mind wants.

Were the Assembly Organizers misinformed? No. We received a LOT of information in those first few weeks of the Budgeting Process, which, like 2014, was curtailed to a much shorter schedule due to City requirements to meet their budgeting deadlines. We even had an information session with Public Works staff, who showed us a long presentation on hard and soft infrastructure projects that could be addressed by ARSCR Fund money… and then were told flat out to steer our assemblies towards ‘Pave and Shave’ Road maintenance projects. Because that’s how democracy and public engagement works, right?

Did the Assembly Organizers all have their facts straight from the first assembly meetings to the last? Not really. Our training sessions ran concurrent to the first two assembly meetings, and we were still learning how things worked by the time we’d had our chance to make critical missteps in information dissemination. It took me most of the budgeting session to even wrap my brain around the assembly schedule as it was originally conceived and then rolled out, I was so busy just facilitating our assembly’s meetings. There were also some Assembly Organizers who were more efficient and effective than others, and I still don’t really class myself in that category, though I’ve had a few people tell me I’m too hard on myself. And there were some who were probably really only in it for the short term, for various reasons, and couldn’t stick with it, whether they believed in the process or not. But almost all of them worked their butts off to treat their assemblies fairly and respectfully, and with a bare minimum of training and guidance.

Were the proposals wrong? Not as far as we knew. Certain members of City Staff were clearly interested in seeing PB succeed in ward 2, and gave detailed critiques, despite what they may or may not have been told to do with them. Others were less cooperative. That’s not speculation. The blunt refusals and obfuscation on the review sheets were clearly written by people who felt they had better things to do than review resident proposals for a democratic budgeting process. I wouldn’t name names even if I had them. They know who they are, and they should be ashamed. That they probably aren’t wouldn’t come as a surprise to me. There is an air of arrogance that emanates from a number of staffers and department heads who simply won’t be told that their process is less efficient and costly than one designed from the ground up to do their job more effectively for them.

I’m NOT condemning all City Staffers. I’ve met so many who clearly had the public interest at heart, to one degree or another. But I’ve also met those who are clearly less interested in what they see as gimmicky public engagement processes that have nothing to do with the real job of running the city. It’s the same in any line of work, really. There are believers, and there are jobbers, and there are career bureaucrats and politicians (or managers) who don’t like to be reminded that they serve at the pleasure of the residents, and not the other way around.

I’m also going to state here for the record that I DON’T condemn the Councillor, despite his part in the power struggle that came to develop between him and our first Facilitator. Councillor Farr has a job to do, and his neck is on the line, so he has to make the process work and look good doing it, plain and simple. That he may not, nor ever did, fully grasp the process in all of its complexities is beside the point.

And finally, I flat out refuse to hear anything further said against Norman Kearny, our first Facilitator. The fact is, he did an incredible job of managing a LOT of overbearing egos to bring us a form of democracy never enjoyed in this city before. It was a delicate, difficult thing to do, and any criticisms that could be levelled at him–and they were–are mostly from Johnny-Come-Latelies and willful obstructionists who never wanted to see anything come of the enterprise to begin with. there’s a reason a lot of us who were on the ground int he first year are as loyal and as outspoken as we are about the 2013 process: because, warts and all, we knew we had something special, and that if we were given the right amount of time to fix things ourselves, the 2014 process would have been greatly improved, as it was always intended to be. Did the “Norman Kearney Process’ need to be thrown under a bus to achieve that? No. Not really. that was done to save face, and to push Noram out of the picture, so that the process could be gelded and made to behave nicely, instead of pushing for oversight and seeing that all of the proposals were implemented as proposed, the way we were originally assured we would be able to.

No guarantees can be made now. Nothing is certain. And that’s all down to the City flexing its muscle and telling Democracy–and the residents–just who is really in charge around here. You’ll get participation. You’ll get idea storming. You may even get community engagement out of the process. But you won’t get what we promised you last year, even if some of the proposals are delivered virtually unscathed. The real promise was that our voices would be heard, adn our ideas respected, and that’s NOT what we got.

And that’s not the prevalent City Staff culture’s fault.

That’s ours as Hamiltonians. We let them take away the PB process we were just getting to grips with. We ASKED them to do it, actually. We preferred the back room deals and the spider webs of intrigue to the more open, democratic, organic process of actually hearing everyone’s voice and trying to work out what the will of the people actually is.

I believe this is the last thing I’ll be writing on either of these subjects, unless something significantly changes in either of these processes. There are other processes coming up as well, but I’m just jaded enough now to be uncertain whether any significant change in how things get done in this city can truly be made to happen while we keep trying to make the changes from inside a system that doesn’t seem to want the changes. Things are getting better, here, but almost in spite of the City, rather than because of it. And that’s all down to us, both for and against progress. We make it happen. We make it NOT happen. There is no Them to blame. Not really.

I’ll say one last thing, though: It’s the 21st Century… is this really the democracy you want? Shouldn’t we be doing more and getting our voices heard more by now? We have the technology. Everyone can speak to the Councillors and Mayor an Premier and even the Prime Minister(‘s staff) via social media on the internet now. More than ever, we can be heard. So why aren’t we being allowed to help decide how things get done? Expediency is all nice and fine, but from where I’m sitting, the only thing the professionals know that the residents don’t is how the system works, not how things get done in the private sector. It CAN be done another way. We just need to develop the plans and the political drive to make the changes and make them stick, even if only for a while. A few generations of real democracy couldn’t hurt more, would they? It’s not like we haven’t tried everything else?

And that’s that, folks. I don’t know if or when you’ll see my face in civic engagement photos again. I’m seriously considering withdrawing and focussing on revitalizing my failed businesses now. I may go to a few rallies or sit in on a few workshops, but I’m really not sure there’s anything more I can contribute to the processes I’ve been part of to date.

But hey, I’m still sick. We’ll see how I feel about all this stuff in another few days, when I’m hopefully recovered.

For those feeling offended or misunderstood right now, I’d apologize, but, just between you and me, this is how I’ve been feeling since September. It’s time you knew.

Lee.

Posted in Hamilton, Health, One a Day, Participatory Budgeting Ward 2, Politics, Stinson Community Association | Leave a comment

Long Ago, In A Movie Trope Far, Far Away…

Sorry for the no posty thing. I’m still sick as a dog, and posting requires that I actually be coherent. This next post may fail completely on that score.

So my wife and I were watching the three part mini-rant by Robert J. Sawyer about Star Wars [1][2][3]and its failure to address the issues of the day honestly, and I felt that he had deliberately missed the point.

DISCLAIMER
I was a Star Wars geek when I was a kid. I also geeked on Star Trek (and Doctor Who and Space 1999, actually), and I never fell into the trap of feeling bound to choose one over the other. I loved any representations of SciFi in television and movies, as long as they really tried to infect minds with great ideas. Probably why I still love SciFi and Spec Fic more than anything else going.

But I am not a slavish George Lucas fan. I’ve watched several of his movies, and I enjoy him as a filmmaker, but I don’t revere him by any stretch of the imagination, which he rarely does.

But what Robert J. Sawyer does is basically accuses George of dumbing down SF for future audiences, which I think is total bullshit. Oh, sure, there are so-called SF programs out there that do very little to test the boundaries of social commentary OR the old ‘plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose’ concept of compare/contrast throughout history, which, yes, is or can be a form of social commentary in itself, but sometimes can just be a way of helping people distance themselves slightly from the social critique to accept the message behind it without putting up their guard at what might be offensive to them if it were more pointed or direct a message.

See, some filmmakers, and many writers as well, myself included, feel that social commentary can and perhaps should be sly and insidious, teaching us through repetition of simple truths carefully concealed in the subtext of the story, to learn to accept and respect the differences that make up our society. It’s not hat bold statements are invalid; it’s that they often miss the mark through their earnestness and determination to scold and deride. Honey, folks, is a better motivator than vinegar. I will win you over subconsciously, if I can’t see how brute force can achieve the objective more effectively. And fuck all that crap about the nobility of going head on versus gentle persuasion. I am not a coward. I know a losing battle when i see one, and I detect no nobility in a pyrrhic victory. If I’m in it, I’m in it to win.

So what does that say about George Lucas’s ‘Once Upon a Time’ intro, and how it affects the social commentary about Luke being a slaver and Obi Wan being a racist sympathizer? Well, nothing, unless you understand that what George did there was sleight of hand. It’s a double bluff. Of course he says ‘don’t worry, relax, I’m not talking about you, here. If you see anything disturbing in these tropes and images, don’t sweat it. It’s not a story about you; it’s a story about a bunch of aliens from a long, long rime ago. Dont’ worry your pretty little head’ *wink*. And that’s the thing. We don’t ever see the wink. It’s implied. you are meant to infer from the familiarity of it all that, ‘Hey, waitaminute, just what are you actually saying, George?’

I don’t credit George with much, these days. He may have revolutionised and brought sci fi filmmaking out of the ghetto, but he doesn’t get too many points for social commentary, at least from me. but what he did amazingly well was slides fastballs past you by making them look like foul balls. Great curve ball on the guy.

So that’s what I would say to Robert J., if I met him. George doesn’t deserve much in the way of accolades, but he gets points for putting in stuff that you have to challenge yourself to understand properly, before you feel the texture and grasp the bigger picture involved. No, these so-called heroes are not lily white. They are shades of grey, and they may be good folks or bad folks, or somewhere in between, but they still resonate and inspire, even if they’re not the sort of heroes we would celebrate in our modern era.

Over on the other side of the argument, there is the similar debate going on with another George, this time R. R. Martin, whose Game of Thrones TV adaptation is stirring a backlash (at last) over the inherent racism on display in the Khaleesi tale, amongst other things. The point is, yes, there is racism, and what kind of a story would it be if we didn’t deal with issues like that, even in days like these where we like to think we’ve somehow vanquished these old foes. The point is, it’s our assumption that slavery and racism are somehow in check that needs addressing, not GoT’s blatant use of slaves and ‘noble savages’.

I don’t condone or approve of glorifying any of these disgusting institutions or overused and antiquated tropes, but if you think GoT glorifies anything, you haven’t been paying attention. There is nothing glorious in GoT, up to and including the Starks, who just barely hit the bar of anti-hero, let alone Hero. Folks have got to get it into their heads that civil rights issues don’t go away just because no one around you talks about them. GoT, with it’s high ratings and visibility, is the perfect place to reignite discussions about race relations and rampant sexism and rape culture, because we actually think we’re talking about heroes, when in fact, they’re almost all enormously despicable people, depending on whose moral scorecard you subscribe to.

So that’s my post for today. Hope you got nothing painful from it. I’m going to be over here in the corner trying to convert and assemble sound files into plausible compositions without coughing up a lung or two. Thanks for reading.

Lee.

Posted in Books, Health, Movies, Music, my wife, One a Day, Politics, Television, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And In Other News, General Francisco Franco is Still Dead.

I’m sick.

I know that sounds pathetic, but the thing is, it explains a lot about what has been wrong with me in the past few days. This illness crept up on me slowly, and I didn’t notice it properly until last night. Does that ever happen to you?

Anyway, I should be working on stuff, but I probably won’t. Not today. Maybe tomorrow. We’ll see.

Thanks for reading.

Lee.

Posted in Health, One a Day | Leave a comment

Refocussing

Okay, so, one of my creative projects has had to be put on ice because it’s not desirable.

The PBW2 Launch Party was last night, and it was a pretty interesting event. If you couldn’t make it, I’m more sorry than you know. I also want to make sure you all know that workshop meetings will be getting started pretty soon, to enable City Staff vetting time as early as possible, to help manage expectations and prevent some of the perceived problems with so-called ‘ineligible’ proposals squeaking through to the balloting process. this year, stricter guidelines are being drawn up to help advise residents what sorts of infrastructure solutions are doable with ARSCR Fund money. Hopefully, we’ll have the full cooperation of City Staff to make the proposals that do come through as workable as possible with as little difficulty as possible.

In other news, I’m going to get back to work on the composition and arrangement of the Etcetera Thesis concept album, STEEP INCLINATIONS.

I may also finish a novel again this year. I may even get back to writing daily, so I can get more than one volume ready for distro this year. It could happen.

Someday…

Time to get dressed and get some work done. Also, must pill the cat.

Talk to you all later. Thanks for reading.

Lee.

Posted in Adventures In Recording, Books of Limbo, Etcetera Thesis Music, One a Day, Participatory Budgeting Ward 2, Writing | Leave a comment

If I Could, I’d Slow The Whole World Down

Okay, I’m working on designing a video for my wife’s crowdfunding campaign to raise money to buy special camera equipment to photograph her art pieces correctly for sales and print purposes.

That means I’m not writing any of the fiction I’ve been talking about. You can help. If you make animated videos, you can give me advice as I develop my animation skills in Flash (Yeah, I know, Flash, right, but I think I can get it done on time in there, where I can’t say for sure that I can just making images frame by frame in Illustrator and importing them into Premier).

You say you’re not a filmmaker? Me neither. But hey, There’s something else you can do: pledge money to my wife’s campaign: Dawn’s Camera Equipment Campaign

Or you could, you know, just come over to our apartment and help us out a bit. I have a crapload of dishes to do, I have to pick up my medication, and I have to take my cat’s prescription cat food back to the vets to exchange for some that we hope Lucky will eat. So many errands, and no damned time, as usual.

So those are my asks today. Hugs, kisses and (possibly) oral sex to the first three respondents.

Thanks for reading.

Lee.

Posted in Art, Graphic Design, my wife, One a Day, Video | Leave a comment

Looking For The Third Act

So I’m thinking of doing this:
The-Third-Rail---AToRB

I’m not exactly sure what it’s really going to be about. I kind of see it as a spiritual descendant of all those Richard Bach books I read in the late 80s and early 90s. You know, the seagull who wanted to master flight and the airplane pilot who didn’t want to be a messiah and the couple who travel to alternate realities to learn how their relationship does or doesn’t work out, stuff like that. Bach was an influence on me back then, and the DNA is probably still in there. So I’m thinking that, since the whole book is a kind of mishmash of alternate worlds anyway, why not wrap it up in a 70K third act that explores the spiritual, philosophical side of Richard Burley.

Anyway, I might start work on it today (no, I’m not kidding; I don’t do April Fools jokes), or I might wait a little bit to meditate on the plot some more, but I think I can imagine some of the details already. For one thing, it should probably have Athena in it. And probably Richard’s ex-wife Kara can come back. There are possibilities here. I just need to get the basics in my head, and then go for it, because that’s how Richard Burley novels work.

I may still polish up and release the first two acts as is. But then, maybe I’ll wait until the third act is complete and in place, in which case, this cover probably won’t be used.

But it’s not a bad one for a bit of dicking around in Illustrator.

I think I’m gonna go lay down for a bit. Been awake since about 3 AM, and I’m feeling slightly winded.

Have a great day. Thanks for reading.

Lee.

Posted in Book Covers, Books, Books of Limbo, Ebooks, Graphic Design, No Sleep, One a Day, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Pilot Episode – How Did I Get Here

I just made that up for the heck of it. It’s where my mind is at, just this moment.

Hello, Limbonauts,

Today is the first day in over a month that I haven’t been working under a deadline. The StinZine has been art directed to death, and I just don’t see anything in there that looks like I had anything to do with it, aside from an article I wrote in my capacity as the PB guy in Stinson. All of the art assets I concocted for the first issue are going unused because the EiC is a bit overzealous in his need to fill up pages when and as he gets bored time on his hands. The text is largely illegible and poorly spaced, and the underlay transparencies he has used to decorate the pages with are too visible and confusing, at least on the jpegs he sent round. It definitely has a scrappy looking ‘zine’ flavour, but legibility has been thrown out the window.

Cardinal Rule #1 of Graphic Design: Space Is Your Friend, folks. Let pages breathe.

I have to pick up more PBW2 Launch Party posters for flyering the Stinson neighbourhood today. That should be fun.

The less said about the newly reconvened SCA Complete/Safe Streets Committee, the better. *SNIP* *sigh*

This Haken album from 2013 (The Mountain) is interesting sounding, but so far, I’m having trouble latching on to it. It’s very busy, which can be cool, but I’m in a strangely delicate state of mind, and may have to turn it off for a bit and go with something a little less manic and angry.

Ahhh… Gowan… that’s better. Take a look at the million crosses… planted in the field, take a look at the streets around you… and tell me what’s the deal…

Okay, so, I need to finish my coffee and get dressed. Gonna be my last day of service to the PBW2 launch until the third, when it actually happens.

Probably have to pick up something for dinner as well. Mustn’t eat out.

Money must be spared, this month. Our cat is refusing to eat the ultra-expensive prescription diet cat food we were told he has to eat for the rest of his life. Not even remotely fun. No idea what we’re going to do. I have to call the vet and ask her if there is another option, because he’s just not eating the wet food, which is pretty much the only place he gets water unless he decides to visit the bathroom drinking bowl we have set out. He drinks his ‘magic monkey water’ before we go to bed, but really, there just isn’t much way for us to tell if he’s drinking enough, because he prefers to pee outside, particularly at night, if and when possible. No blood in the cat litter this morning, so at least the infection is clearing up.

Okay, I need to get going here. I have time before my 1 o’clock ‘meeting’, but I need to stop by another place to see if posters are available there, first. Life goes on.

Time to go. TTYL. Thanks for reading.

Lee.

Posted in Music, One a Day, Participatory Budgeting Ward 2, Stinson Community Association, StinZine | Leave a comment

Almost Finished

The deadline blues is nearly at an end. I have one more job to start and finish before tomorrow, and it should be a relatively easy one, so I’m not worried.

The BIG jobs are done. I may have to edit the preview of the StinZine cover #002 to fit the inside back cover of issue #001 with the Strip Tease header, but other than that, it’s all good. Sorry, no previews. I mean it this time.

What I CAN show you is the pre-coloured version of the painting I did for Artists Inc the night before yesterday. I spent yesterday morning colouring it, and then I forgot to photograph it, but that’s okay, because really, the coloured version was really strange and slightly fugly because of the muted palette I used. So here’s the line art:
VolUntEer 001a sml

I have to go make a print banner. I also need a shower and I need to get dressed and go clean my Mom’s house. Time is flying.

Thanks for reading. More news soon.

Lee.

Posted in Art, Graphic Design, One a Day | Leave a comment

You’re Just Another Face That I Know From A TV Show

I’m sitting under my fancy shmancy new headphones listening to Duke by Genesis (from 1980). I once wrote a review of it HERE.

I am drawing cartoons of some people I am working with on a zine for my neighbourhood. I want to show you what I’ve got so far, but it’s still a bit rough and unfinished looking, so I’m going to wait until I have the finished drawings before I give out any teasers. I have had one comment so far, and it seems to be a good one.

I’m also drawing a cover for the second issue, which folks won’t see until June. I plan on drawing and/or designing that issue myself. I’ve wanted to branch back into comics for some time, and while I don’t PLAN on making the whole thing a comic book (probably not even possible, really; there are ads and promo stuff to take into consideration), I want to see how far I can take it.

I have also been hand-lettering signs for a PB promotional video. I posted about that the other day, and I haven’t seen the photos yet, so I have nothing new to show on that front yet. Kathleen was pleased with the signs, so that’s good. I love doing hand lettering, and wish I had more opportunities to trot out that skill set, so I can get better at it.

I think I have a few deadlines left to fulfill, so I’m going to cut this short. One last thing: a teaser after all. I’m such a cheat:
StinZine June Logo 001a
Lee cartoon 2014a

Have a great day.

Lee.

Posted in 1980, Art, Graphic Design, Music, One a Day, Reviews, StinZine | Leave a comment

Lunatic Fringe (I Know You’re Out There)

Okay, I know, almost another whole week of no posting. It’s been crazy busy lately.

PBW2
I just spent the last 24 hours working on SEVEN hand-lettered and inked 14″x22″ posters for a film being prepared by Kathleen Quinn of Operation Maple for Participatory Budgeting Ward 2 – Hamilton Ontario. It’s going to be a cool non-speaking video with groups standing around in carious locations around Hamilton waving these posters like signs. I just wish I’d had time to purchase some boards to mount the posters on, so they’d last longer. I predict they won’t survive the filming, which seems kind of a shame for so much work. Still, should be a very cool video, if you don’t mind rap soundtracks. ;)
PBW2 Slogan poster 001a sml PBW2 Slogan poster 001b sml PBW2 Slogan poster 002b sml PBW2 Slogan poster 003a sml PBW2 Slogan poster 006a sml

This after having created a poster for the upcoming PBW2 2014 Launch Party:
PBW2-Launch-Party-Poster-2014f

EASTER EGG HUNT
I have another kind of poster I’m working on for the Carter Park Annual Easter Egg Hunt. I already finished a version of it, but it didn’t have enough Easter Eggs or an Easter Bunny in it. I don’t really draw holiday mascots very often, so I needed to think about that one. Then my wife decided to draw me a cartoon Easter Bunny, which was very thoughtful of her. Of course, our art styles are nothing alike, but I think it should be usable. Thisis the previous version, which should have more eggs in it by the end of the day:
Easter-Egg-Hunt-Poster-11x17-colour

STINZINE
That just leaves the cartoon staff drawing and the ‘next issue’ cover demo to draw. I have the cartoon drawing half demoed already, but I may have to start over to get the details a little clearer; the size I’m drawing it at is just a bit small for the level of detail I’m getting.

BOOKS?
Sorry, no fiction writing this week, so far. I’m starting to forget what I was working on, but I do know that I’ll be making some changes to the last chapter or two that I was writing in THE APPROXIMATE DISTANCE TO LIMBO. I keep thinking I oversexualized that last chapter, even though it was about a swinger’s party. and I haven’t decided if I’m going to add that third act after all, since I’m blowing another deadline anyway. I mean, really, the only person setting writing deadlines here is me, but I like to prove I can meet a deadline when I pick one. But this project just seems to need time. Funny when I remember that it was actually started in late 2012. It seems like I just started it a few months ago. Weird how immediate it feels when it’s really one long aside. Maybe I better reconcile myself to the fact that it’s become a real sequel, despite it not being planned as such.

After that, I’m gonna take a break from Richard, because I’m starting to feel like I’ve burned out on him, and I still have at least two proper full length Richard Burley novels to write. I’ve got plenty of other projects to work on, so it won’t be any kind of hardship, really. Should be nice to focus on something completely fictional for a change. I feel like I’ve been mining my life story for material for the better part of a decade now, which is close to the truth, if you factor in the fact that I started TERMINAL MONDAY in late 2007. It’s been a long time since I started improvising those first few chapters. It’s not a best seller by any rational measure, but it’s still a very special book to me.

MUSIC?
Anyway, I also still have to get back to work on STEEP INCLINATIONS (which STILL doesn’t have its own page). I’ve barely picked up an instrument in weeks, and I haven’t recorded a part in months. Should be interesting trying to get back into harness for a whole double-(triple?) concept album. That’s a LOT of playing, and I’ll be doing a fair bit of it from the keyboard, since most of the old music I’m reviving was keyboard-driven. Haven’t played like that in almost twenty years. Gonna be a steep learning curve, that’s for sure. And I’m still wondering how much the boys (Derrick and Gary) are really going to contribute to this one.

And that’s all for now. Hope that was enough of an update for you. I hope to be back tomorrow, but with the way things have been lately, don’t look too surprised if I’m gone for another week.

Thank you for reading, and have a great day.

Lee.

Posted in Art, Books, Books of Limbo, Canadian Music, Derrick, Design, Etcetera, Etcetera Thesis Music, Gary, Graphic Design, Hamilton, Lettering, my wife, News, One a Day, Ontario, Participatory Budgeting Ward 2, Steep Inclinations, Stinson Community Association, Terminal Monday, The New Hamilton, Writing | Leave a comment

You Can’t Stop The Bridges Burning

Hey Folks,

No fiction writing today. Graphic design is required. And tonight, big PBW2 get-Together to introduce the volunteers of the 2013 team to the Facilitator of 2014, and her PB advisor. Should be a hoot.

Back to shooting Zombies to the strains of Billy Sherwood and Circa:.

Lee.

Posted in Music, Participatory Budgeting Ward 2, Video Games, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Time Feels So Much Closer Now, You Are With Me

Sitting quietly with headphones on, listening to Yes music. This is so good for me, I can’t even explain it.

I played a bit of The Secret World earlier. It’s mostly searching for stuff and shooting zombies right now, but it promises to get more interesting as time goes on, if I can just get out of this town. I don’t resent these zombie hordes quite as much as I did the ones in WoW, but it’s a close one, because Zombie Apocalypse fiction gets on my nerves. I don’t watch it unless forced to, and it almost always irritates and makes me cringe, if it doesn’t make me anxious and miserable. I know folks, some close friends, who just love the stuff, but it does nothing for me.

That said, most of the classic horror film monsters no longer attract my interest. Stephenie Meyer ruined vampires, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s what’s lead to zombie lite fic like The Walking Dead, which I have no interest in whatsoever. But then, most of what turns on modern television audiences doesn’t do a thing for me. My tastes are too particular. I like my ravenous hordes to have a cool sci-fi angle, or a really cool supernatural angle, but I definitely don’t want to see or hear the same stories I’ve heard before. Nuclear mutation? Necronomicon? Even biogenetic weapons, I believe, have been used in some of the fic I’ve read somewhere. I’m over it. I need new twists to drag me down that road again.

And I hate zombie flesh eating sounds. I play with the sound turned down and music playing. Makes it much less nerve wracking.

Mostly, I’m just playing to see what Cthulian lore gets rolled into this starter area. Much more interesting than mindless flesh eaters.

So, my self-imposed vacation is just about at an end. I have a meeting some time tonight, and after that, I expect to get pretty busy again, at least for a bit. Lots of meetings piling up in the next couple of weeks. Lost of PB stuff in particular.

I plan on getting back to work on the novel tomorrow or the day after. I’m almost itching to get back to it. I want that feeling of needing to finish the book before I attempt to do it, or it will just be going through the motions, and it won’t end strong enough. I sort of know how it ends (I’ve had the basic ending for months), but I need to punch it and make it stick, which so far, I don’t feel up to.

After the first draft of the novel is done, I set it aside for a little bit and wait for the fever to edit it arrives. Meanwhile, I finish plotting the revised plot for the concept album, and get to work revising the lyrics and programming the bed track drums. I still haven’t decided if it’s going to be a two or three disc set, but I’m leaning towards three, because I see it as a three act play. I just need to convince myself that I have the right character and the right story, because I’m wavering on that. I like the elements, but I’m not sold that I’ve found the heart of the real story. I just have topical stuff and a yearning to express something powerful and essential. Something the world needs. Right now I have something that feels like two parts Citizen Kane, two parts Sin City. Not quite as inspiring as I’d like this to be. It has to really reach out and speak to people.

I’m thinking it might lift a little more if I swap out the male protagonist for a female. Something about that sounds like it could really get an important message int here. There aren’t enough concept albums about women. There is a lot of struggle out there right now to redefine feminism and sexuality, and I’m not the guy to speak to the needs of the former, but the latter is something I feel like I might have a few things to say about.

Maybe it will be about Andy. Maybe not. We’ll see.

Dishes are done. Need to vacuum. Gonna be a tight week before we get money for bills and groceries and such again. Just gotta lay low for a bit longer.

Time to end this and go do something constructive until dinner.

Thank you for reading.

Lee.

Posted in Books of Limbo, Etcetera Thesis Music, Music, Steep Inclinations, Video Games, Writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Make A Jazz Noise Here

I was just going to update Facebook when it occurred to me that I might babble a tiny bit on the point I was going to make, which is that, basically, I’m tired.

I’d like to welcome Karen Burson to my website, as this may be new to her. Karen is the new Participatory Budgeting – Ward 2 (Hamilton) Facilitator, and she has heard a few things from me about PBW2 2013, so we’re getting kinda chummy. Karen, nothing I say next reflects on you, nor should you worry unduly.

As I was saying, I’m tired. My civic engagement levels have been relatively high for the last couple of years, and I’m starting to feel it in my bones. I knew this time was coming, and I tried to avert it by stepping back and avoiding taking on new responsibilities, but old duties came back to me with added workloads, so I’m now in overload mode. I’ve tried to get organized, but I’m missing key information, and I don’t want to turn into a control freak, so in short order, I may start hemorrhaging duties and getting down to the core job, whatever that will be.

As all of this stuff is voluntary, and no honorariums are on offer (that I know of), I have to start thinking about the fact that I am essentially living off of Disability and the funds aren’t carrying my wife and I very far with our fairly fussy dietary needs (no processed crap foods for my wife, please) and our phone/internet and hydro bills. I also have a not-inconsiderable amount of debt that I’m not addressing right now, which I hope to fix in the future, if and when I ever start selling my books in more than single digits a month.

All of this means that, in the near future, I’m going to start reevaluating my involvement levels in all of these activities, to determine what I need to be involved in versus what I can afford to let go of. I have no idea how that’s going to turn out. Could be PB. Could be SCA. Could be nothing. Or I might just figure out a way to manage my volunteer time better without depriving myself creative time and rest time and time for hobbies, whatever the fuck those are.

So I’m going to be quiet for a day or two and wait for the energy to transform things to return to me. That means I have one or two small jobs to take care of, but mostly you won’t hear from me until I come out of hiding and put some (hopefully clean) pants on and notify the world of how I will be interacting with it in 2014.

In other news, finishing the first draft of THE APPROXIMATE DISTANCE TO LIMBO soon, and then I start writing and recording the new Etcetera Thesis album, STEEP INCLINATIONS (which I really need to make a page for). I’m listening to a LOT of Billy Sherwood right now, because that’s the frame of mind I’m in. Expect that to mean something later.

If you’re on the emergency call list (you know who you are), feel free to contact me. Everyone else, take a number and wait. BIAB.

Thank you for reading. Be good to yourselves.

Lee.

Posted in Books of Limbo, Etcetera Thesis Music, Health, my wife, News, One a Day, Participatory Budgeting Ward 2, Stinson Community Association | Leave a comment

The Week Of (Almost) No Posts

Sorry, gang. Lots of stuff sort of in the works, but I’ve been busy and tired and, I think, a bit depressed, so every time I sit down to write a blog post, nothing comes out. Very frustrating.

I’m listening to Sparks’ Exoctic Creatures of the Deep album, from 2008. It’s not top notch for me, but it’s good and it’s charming and it’s definitely Sparks music.

I’ve been dealing with some unwarranted drama over the past 24 hours. Hopefully I won’t have to do anything more about it than I already have. It’s a bit stupid, really. People ought to know better than to say what was said.

I want to watch some old television. Dawn wants to watch this documentary series she got into about families doing real life time travel experiments in small English towns. I’m just not grooving on the more melodramatic Reality TV aspects. I really need some light escapism, but life goes on.

No creative work has gotten done this week. Completely too busy to sit down and create. I need to straighten up my desk and bring out the laptop from the bedroom, where it’s been sitting forlornly.

Our buddy Dave Walker bought us copies of The Secret World to play, so we’d join in with him and Derrick. Dawn is finding she prefers playing alone. *shrug*

I think that’s all Iv’e got. More soon, I figure.

Lee.

Posted in Music, One a Day | Leave a comment

Announce All Of The Things!

Okay, quick update, because I have a LOT of work to do.

WRITING
I’m going to finish Act Two of THE APPROXIMATE DISTANCE TO LIMBO in a few days. I’d be done by now, but things keep happening.

Afterwards, I’ll be finishing up CUSTOMS AND ROAD SONGS OF LIMBO, and LINKTALES VOLUME TWO, hopefully before the end of the year.

MUSIC
One of those things is, I’m back to work on STEEP INCLINATIONS, the 2-to-3-disc concept album I’m planning for Etcetera Thesis. Depending on how much work the band puts in on it this year, it may be our last album. It’ll certainly be the last album of mainly older material. There will be very little in the way of ‘new’ new music, as the concept album is being composed from many, many bits of cool jam material accrued over the last twenty years of Etcetera’s recorded history. With any luck, I’ll release it in two or three parts during the next year or so, and then as a complete set when it’s all done, probably in 2015.

ART
I’m still getting over the mural thing.

PBW2
We have a new Facilitator. Meet the new Facilitator at CIty Council Chambers on April 3rd between 7:00PM and 10:00PM.

More news to come soon.

OUT WITH DAD
I’m officially broker than broke, so I can’t attend tonight’s showing after all. I feel really, really bad about this. Sorry, Jason. Hopefully we’ll get to meet someday to talk about all of this.

SUMMARY
And that’s all I’ve got. Thanks for reading. Have a great day.

Lee.

Posted in Art, Books, Books of Limbo, Canadian Music, Derrick, Ebooks, Etcetera, Etcetera Thesis Music, Gary, Hamilton, LinkTales, News, One a Day, Out With Dad, Participatory Budgeting Ward 2, Steep Inclinations, Stinson Mural Project, Thesis, Writing | Leave a comment

Picking Up The Pieces And Putting Them Away

So I guess it’s time to reassess my plans for 2014, since I was thinking I might be painting a mural this year, which it now seems clear I won’t be.

APPROXIMATIONS
So the plan at this point is to finish THE APPROXIMATE DISTANCE TO LIMBO. But that’s almost done. I’ve decided that, if there’s a third act, I’ll write it later and add it to the mix. Hey, if Douglas Adams and Richard Bach can add to their original masterpieces, so can I. I’ll sell the third act separately (probably titles THE APPROXIMATE THIRD ACT), and also sell complete versions, taking the original two-act version out of circulation.

OBSERVING
Speaking of circulation, I think I’m planning on taking UNDER OBSERVATION out of publication. It’s officially reached 100 samples to date, and it’s sold more than any of my other Smashwords titles, but it’s still not breaking double digits, and I’m thinking to hasn’t done what it was supposed to do, which was get people interested in TERMINAL MONDAY. So I think I’ll be doing that by the end of this week. In commemoration of this event, I’m going to offer folks one last chance to download it here, for free:

UNDER OBSERVATION
Promotional price: $0.00
Coupon Code: KN98L
Expires: March 15, 2014 (that’s this coming Saturday)

I will be promoting this discount all this week, here and ONLY here. So if you have friends or family members you’d like to turn on to my work, this is the time. Get it while it lasts, gang. After this, I’ll almost certainly never do anything this stupid again.

MUSIC, ETC…
I’m finally going to get back to work writing and organizing STEEP INCLINATIONS, probably the final Etcetera Thesis album ever, unless those guys finally get their shit together and make music again. It’ll be a big sprawling progressive rock concept album, two to three discs long, depending on how well I construct and edit it. I may even do a 5.1 version, just for my audiophile friends. And I won’t make the mistake of releasing it until I have a big event in meatspace to commemorate it properly. Perhaps the final hurrah for Etcetera Thesis. We’ll see. Who knows? Maybe I’ll finally do a Kickstarter campaign to fund having a SACD/CD set made of it, featuring hand-painted covers and hand-lettered and illustrated liner notes or something. Could be a big damned deal.

One thing is for sure: this time, I’ll take as much time as it takes to get the entire album absolutely perfect, even if it takes me a few years to record and mix it. I was really proud of my achievements on BISECTING A CIRCUMFERENCE and THE WHOLE OTHER HALF, but they are flawed i n places, and most folks probably took a pass on buying because of the flaws. I’m convinced the songs were good enough. The recording and mixing were much better than back in the bad old 4-track days, at least. Just needed better performances. This time, I’ll do whatever it takes to make those performances perfect. I may come to hate this album, but at least I’ll hate it for the right reasons.

OTHER STUFF
I have to do the dishes, clean the kitchen, and go to Mom’s to clean the house. I also have to get Dawn up for coffee in a few minutes. And hopefully tomorrow, I’ll have enough money to pay the rent. Could get very hairy around here, otherwise.

Time to sign off and get the day properly started. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the book.

Lee.

Posted in Books, Books of Limbo, Ebooks, Etcetera Thesis Music, One a Day, Steep Inclinations, Terminal Monday, THE MUSIC, Writing | Leave a comment

Out With Dad – Season 3.1 – a review

Welcome back. It’s been quite a while, hasn’t it?

This is your old Uncle Eddie, returning from the wilds of La La Land to finally review the first half of Season Three of Jason Leaver’s epic web dramedy (I think that’s the best word for it, though I’m not sure Jason agrees), Out With Dad.

First off, I should say that the delay wasn’t deliberate. I actually started watching Season 3.1 when it first aired, but I got stuck at the movies. Funny thing, that. It was a lovely scene, but somehow, I just felt I had to stop for a bit. Not the scene I thought would mess me up at all. I think that means it worked.

Anyway, I just rewatched the first half of the season again, and I think I’m ready to review it now. Are you ready for a spoilery review of 3.1? Let’s find out, shall we?

SPOILER SPACE
I’’m still not kidding
If you’’re one of those people who doesn’’t like spoilers, you know what to do.

No, I don’t mean scream blue murder and sulk on Facebook for a week because people aren’t honouring your wish to remain blessedly plot ignorant until you discover the program for yourself. Don’t be silly. The series has been running for two and a half seasons. You’re either in, or you’re out. (See what I did there?)
*Ahem*
After this SPOILER SPACE, I won’’t brook any Boo Hooing or QQing about SPOILERS, because I told you from the start, this is a SPOILER SPACE, and I have every intention of SPOILING the ENTIRE SERIES in one go (well, maybe two)
FINAL WARNING: SPOILER SPACE
SPOILERS AHEAD!!! Welcome to the Land of SPOILERS! Are we clear about this being SPOILER SPACE? Good. Then let’s begin.

SEASON THREEpointONE (FALL 2013)

Episode 3.01 “Starting Over”

Okay, confession time, I didn’t actually ACTUALLY rewatch this one this time around, because I started this rewatch a couple of times, and have seen the episode two or three times, and I really didn’t want to get caught in the same chronic hysteresis, so I took a short cut. But the thing is, I think I remember the episode well enough to review it.

First off, we enter a new house, as Nathan and Rose are moving their boxes into a… oh wait, I already said that part. So the thing is, since last time, apparently there have been some changes. I actually feel like I should go back and read my previous review to get caught back up with what lead to the move, but hey, let’s live for today.

So the big issue this time around is that Nathan has made Rose a very special, seemingly innocuous violet tee shirt, which turns out to mean more than she realizes (more on that later). We also learn that, apparently, Rose does this thing with her voice when she talks on the phone with Claire, which amuses her father and mortifies her. The thing is, two can play at that game, can’t they, Nathan?

So, when do we get “Out with Rose”?

Then it’s off to school, where Claire and Vanessa are eyeing each other warily, and Claire invites Rose to manicotti dinner at her place. “Is this a date?” Well, it might not be a date, Rose, but it’ll be a date to remember.

Episode 3.02 “Dining In & Out”

Rose returns home to get changed for dinner at Claire’s, and has an awkward discussion about dressing for dinner, which concludes with her wearing Nathan’s (shhh… don’t tell Rose) gay pride tee shirt. Of course it looks good on her, Nathan. She’s grown up quite a bit. No wonder he’s nervous.

But anyway, Dad takes this opportunity to book a date with his new gal pal, whom he STILL hasn’t mentioned to Rose. And this becomes apparent when Angela suggests she like to meet Rose. Smooth, Nathan.

ASIDE: I have to say that, though it took me a few viewings to get used to Will Conlon no longer playing Nathan, it’s gotten easier to accept Jonathan Robbins, simply because the role has changed in a few ways, though Jonathan is working to create a dynamic that fits. So far, the chemistry between him and Kate isn’t as obvious for me, but watching him stumble through the issue of admitting to his daughter that he’s found someone new seems easier to believe coming from newNathan. ;)

However, so that leaves mentioning of a little event: Rose’s dinner with Claire. Let’s see… we’ve got:

- 1 obnoxious little brother who is fascinated with his sister’s sexuality

- 1 obviously struggling mother who just wants her gay daughter to be happy

- Oh yeah, and 1 near-absentee workaholic father who, surprise, was not aware that his daughter was a lesbian until he catches her kissing Rose. Nice.

And that’s where Jason leaves us.

Episode 3.03 “Storming In & Out”

We rejoin Claire and Rose at the kiss, and the awkward WTF moment of her father walking in on them, and then the equally awkward explanation from Mom, which goes over about as well as a lead balloon. But hey, kid brother is overjoyed.

Rose arrives home to discuss it with Nathan, and Claire comes over seeking asylum. Rose asks if she can stay the night, and Nathan decides there is a serious problem that needs to be observed visa girlfriends sleeping over now that Rose is out. Basically, he turns her down, and she grabs a hoodie and her new girlfriend and goes out on an impromptu date. Don’t date angry, Rose!

Episode 3.04 “Swashbuckling Adventures of Making Out”

At the movies, the girls buy tickets from one of their PFLAG friends, who recognizes them immediately. Then the girls go in to munch popcorn in the dark. The thing I love about this sequence is that it plays out like a classic silent film scene, with slapstick and glamour shots and it just looks so good. It’s a real change from the classic Rose & Nathan movie sequence. Everything changes in a big way, when Rose and Claire find themselves kissing, and then kissing some more, until it becomes apparent that they are having a classic make out scene. It’s really nice. Just warm enough to make you feel that things could grow between these two, without being salacious.

Little do they realize that they’ve been spotted by a girl in the row behind them, who, as it turns out, recognizes the girls from school.

Uh oh.

Then Rose goes home to tea and chat with Dad, and they settle more or less amicably, but we can tell this is a new day for Rose and Nathan.

Episode 3.05 “Outed”

Here it is, folks. The moment we’ve all been waiting for.

The music should be our first cue. Something’s not right at school the next day. Girls in the stairs are looking at Rose, greeting her, congratulating her, and in one case, attacking her and accusing her of being a liar. Vanessa has no words; just a look of ‘I told you so’. Kenny drops the bomb: someone saw her at the movies making out with Claire. That didn’t take long, did it?

Rose’s reaction? Guess.

In THE bathroom, after bidding a fond farewell to her breakfast, she has a heart to heart conversation with Claire about the fact that she’s still not ready to come out, even though the choice has pretty much been removed. Poor Rose fights it to the end, even leaving the bathroom after Claire has left.

Afterward, we see Vanessa approach Kenny and reveal that she clearly misses the stuffing out of Rose, and probably regrets everything (though not in those words), and then tells him to tell Rose she’ll be fine, no matter what happens.

Dun dun dun dunnnnnn…

The episode ends probably the only way it ever could. Vanessa goes home, has a fight with her parents, and announces she can’t live under their roof anymore, and runs to her room. Just between you and me? This is where I feared things would go from nearly the beginning. My heart is breaking for poor Vanessa.

Ah well, life can be tough, even for girls who aren’t completely sure what their orientation is.

Episode 3.06 “Out with (Song and) Dance”

The big finale. Rose is literally beside her self, and Claire is on hand to help talk her down. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s time for a little song and dance number. I’m not kidding. Kate Conway (both of her) and Caitlynne Medrek, start singing to one another, and soon the whole cast, including the Subway Girl and the Barista and Johnny and Nathan and Kenny and… well, everybody joins in, singing and dancing in the sun.

Everyone that is, except Vanessa, who is in her room, packing her bag and preparing to leave home.

I’m gonna stop here. Got something in my eye.

SUMMARY

Season Three. Woo. I don’t know what to say. Second half is coming up in just a few days. I’m still hoping against hope that I can make the Season 3.2 premier at the Fox Theatre in Toronto on Tuesday. Money is very tight. I suspect I’ll miss my chance again. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am at that. It’s been a strange year, financially, so far. I need to sell more books, stat.

Anyway, in case I don’t make it, Jason, Kate, Lindsey, Caitlynne, Corey, Jonathan (welcome aboard)… I hope you folks have a wonderful evening. You deserve it. And thanks for the laughter and tears.

Lee Edward McIlmoyle
(aka Uncle Eddie)

Posted in lesbianism, LGBT, Out With Dad, Reviews, Television, television series | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Things I Meant To Tell You

I missed the deadline for the mural. I got the picture done. It’s not as good as I’d hoped. But the point is, I got it done… just ten minutes before it was due. I’d have cabbed it, but I still had to fill out the submission forms, and burn a DVD of the graphics, which I still had to scan. Basically, I was sunk. The only way I could have made it happen on time is if I had filled out the applications and forms last night, after I got home and ate. But I was feeling crummy, so I crawled into bed, and ended up sleeping in much longer than usual (7:30ish AM), and basically crawled out of bed late this morning and finished drawing and colouring it as fast as I could.

I’m dissatisfied with the colour choices. The Inktense pencils look great when used properly, and I didn’t do THAT bad a job on the painting, even though I rushed it, but the colours I used look muddy, instead of popping as I’d intended. The problem of trying to appease both my personal mandate to make it as cool as possible, and the urge to win over anyone looking for classical imagery.

I guess it doesn’t matter if I show it around now, so here it is:

Carter Park Mural Concept 2014 (1 of 1)I think it would have been a success if I’d somehow found just a few more days to work on it. Even one might have done it. I just didn’t have enough time, it seems.

Dawn suggests I vector it, correct the problems, and sell it on tee shirts. I’m thinking about it.

In other news, still haven’t decided if I’m writing a third act to THE APPROXIMATE DISTANCE TO LIMBO. I have the barest inkling of an idea for one, but I’m not sure it will be that interesting. I may wait and see if a better idea comes along. If not, I’ll wrap it up with Act Two and self-publish it, perhaps by the end of the month. Not as long as or as sexy as Terminal Monday, but at least it’s a pretty interesting read.

And in still other news, we have a new PBW2 Facilitator. However, I can’t name them yet, because they have to notify their employer of their wish to leave and do the PB thing for the next five months. Hopefully we’ll have it all ironed out by Monday.

And that’s all I’ve got. I’m sitting with a glass of single malt, a copy of the BBC original Life On Mars, and a desire to see only people I love, just now.

Thanks for reading. Have a good night.

Lee.

 

Posted in Books of Limbo, Participatory Budgeting Ward 2, Stinson Mural Project, Terminal Monday, Writing | Leave a comment