Archive for January 26, 2008

M. Dylan Raskin Interviewed

January 26, 2008

New York Author Ready To Reclaim Spotlight

(Alternate printer-friendly link — provided because the web-formatted version traps readers with a registration prompt!)

This is why you should be reading Raskin. It’s right there in the lead sentence:

M. Dylan Raskin feels there’s a major difference between authors who want to write and those who need to write.

Any writer who knows that difference — and is in the latter category (as Raskin is) — is a writer worth reading.

For someone who hasn’t been writing books his whole life, the media frenzy picked up quickly. There was a time two summers ago, where Little New York Bastard could be seen in the front window of every bookstore in the city.

Some critics even compared him to Catcher In The Rye author J.D. Salinger – including author Neal Pollack on the back cover of Raskin’s book.

See, here’s the thing about hype like that: it can repulse certain people. Like me. I probably saw the covers all over town and avoided the book. Just as I avoid anything that hits the New York Times Best Seller list. I’ve seen the tastes that seem to govern best-seller lists. The least I can say about that taste is, Ew. The worst I can say would have me back using the kind of language I used in my first blog (something I am avoiding here).

I also think it’s a disgusting ploy to label a writer as being like another writer. No writer (at least no real writer) sets out to stand in the shadow — or to grab onto the coattails — of another writer. Reviewers — and marketers — who do that are straitjacketing a writer, setting up expectations in readers’ minds that the writer never set out to create.
Such comparisons actually damage a writer. It’s murder by praise. (Oh this guy thinks he’s he so good, huh? If I say he’s like Writer X, he’ll have to mimic Writer X forever! Ah, another career destroyed. Time for my afternoon martini and dose of Viagra!)

I’ve mentioned Bukowski in relation to Raskin, but that’s because I can. I know what I’m doing. Raskin is as genuine as Bukowski was. Raskin is a real writer, just as Bukowski was. Beyond those two points, all similarities end. Anyone who has read The Outsider by Colin Wilson and has read Raskin’s and Bukowski’s work can see they are members of the brotherhood of true writers.

Raskin has two books:


Little New York Bastard, which I wrote about in the old blog.


Bandanas and October Supplies, which I also wrote about in the old blog.

I recommend both of them again. The second one should be bought as two copies — one to give to your mother!

I’m not the only admirer of Raskin’s work. Someone thinks so much of him that they recorded a interview with him off a TV screen!

This is a **very** rare interview with author M. Dylan Raskin before he stopped giving interviews. Was recorded on Fox News San Diego shortly after the publication of “Little New York Bastard”

See my previous posts here: It’s Not For You To Know, So Don’t Ask and Never Ask to put that interview in perspective.

I look forward to Dylan’s next book. And after you’ve read the pair already out, you will too.

I Miss My Daddy = $7B Fraud

January 26, 2008

Family tragedy that turned Jerome Kerviel into a rogue trader

The rogue French trader behind the biggest banking scandal in history began his incredible deception after being deeply affected by the death of his father, friends have revealed.

Neighbours in the pretty village in Brittany where Jerome Kerviel grew up said his father Charles, a local builder, died less than a year ago.

One said: “They are a close family and Jerome was very upset by the death of his father. I’m sure this must have had something to do with it.”

Oh come on!

And then there’s this bit:

Sources say the trader and amateur judo instructor is “suffering trauma” at the wave of global publicity which has made his name one of the most searched-for terms on the internet.

Trauma?!!? We should feel sorry for him?!!?

“Even I would not believe a ridiculous story such as that!”

I immediately went to Google to find this: Gee, Officer Krupke

Blog Notes: Unhappy Template

January 26, 2008

I’m bumping up against the limitations of this free WordPress template.

Twice I’ve had to forgo using blockquote which

puts quotes in a box like this

because it also italicizes the frikkin text. This makes long quotes very hard on the eyes. It also destroys any italics used for emphasis in the original text.

I’ve just spent some time again trying out the free WordPress templates, looking for an alternative. Really, most of them just suck (sorry, designers — well, not really for all of you; some of you do just suck at web design, period!).

I don’t like controls on the left side. I like them on the right. This is based on my experience with handheld devices accessing the Net. When the text is on the left, it’s better for small-screen devices.

I also like only two columns. This column of text on the left and the column of controls on the right. Again, see experience reason above.

I really, really liked the template I used for the old dead blog. It was clean, efficient. But I wanted to get away from that. I also wanted to get away from all the blueness.

I like the black and orange scheme here.

I wish I could do that to the old template!

To do so would require me to subscribe to WordPress’s Custom StyleSheet option. And then I’d have to figure out how to make those color scheme changes.


At some point I just might have to do that. It’d take some work aside from tuning the template. I’d have to go back in to all the quotes here and restore the italics that were erased by this template.

Anyway, if any of you have not been happy with this template, take some solace in that I’ve become disenchanted with it too.

Bukowski Also Said It

January 26, 2008

Cliff Burns really inspired some posts today. There’s a discussion here. And now this post is a follow-up/companion to the post below, Why Don’t More People Read?

I’m going to do this without the blockquote that boxes and then italicizes all text:

Charles Bukowski: Laughing with the Gods, interview by Fernanda Pivano

PIVANO: When did you decide to become a writer? When your teacher said that you were good?

BUKOWSKI: Uh-huh. I forgot all about that. I decided to become a writer when I started reading the Atlantic Monthly and Harper’s — two magazines with supposedly good writing. The New Yorker too. I would read these short stories they’d publish and they were absolutely nothing. They said nothing, they did nothing, they . . .

PIVANO: John Updike.

BUKOWSKI: Yes, I include him. And they were terrible, they just bored me. There was no life to them, and yet, these people were getting famous writing these stories, and I thought, I know their secret: They try to write about nothing at all, in the most boring way possible. No, I really felt that. I said, this must be some kind of snob inner circle secret. I must write something very boring that says nothing at all for pages and pages, and say it so boring that everybody gets bored. Then you think, this is really good writing, because I’m so bored, and nothing is said. So I tried the other way, I tried to say: A guy comes home from work, his wife screams at him, and he murders her. Like, a factory worker. They didn’t want that. So . . .

PIVANO: They? Who are they?

BUKOWSKI: The editors. I don’t know, I guess I became a writer, not so much because I thought I could be a writer, but because all the known writers that were famous seemed to me to be so very bad. But for me to just stop and let them take over with their dull badness seemed to be an atrocity. So I started typing, trying to say it the way I thought it should be said — what was happening, but in a simple way.

–pgs. 92-93

Why Don’t More People Read?

January 26, 2008

I think this explains it better than I could ever do: A Reader’s Manifesto

It’s long but worth it.

Trust me, it’s not you. It’s the rotten books!

Victor Gischler: Alternate Covers

January 26, 2008

Charles Brock, the cover designer for Victor Gischler’s latest book, left a Comment at Victor’s blog. I went over to Brock’s web presence and found two alternate covers:


That one is very 1960 Italian film SFish.

This one is like out of David Lynch:


All of this just makes me want to kick the calendar in its butt so we can get to July 8th sooner!

The Disappearing Future

January 26, 2008

Cliff Burns, in that same post that I cited just below, also provoked something with these words:

Civility is in short supply, I notice it in on-line forums … but I also see it in supermarket lines. Unsmiling faces, not even a nod of thanks if you surrender your place in line or hold the door open for someone, the cashier looking haggard, refusing to make eye contact. Are the “trolls” popping up all over the internet a manifestation of the deep sense of anger and unhappiness people are feeling? There’s a disconnect out there, the global villagers locked in private houses, browsing for internet porn or arguing over the latest film remake of a bad TV show instead of meeting in the market square for shopping and socialization. Or maybe that browbeaten cashier is just counting the minutes until she can go home and get on-line and switch to her other identify, an avatar known only as “Coquette”, courtesan and spy in a digital community with the virtual population of a medium-sized country. Tens of millions of people assuming the personalities and lives of nonexistent alter egos…and pining for those invisible realms when they’re away from them for any period of time.

We just signed up so we can read our own utility meters and pay our bills on-line. No longer any need for the friendly, neighbourhood lady from SaskEnergy to pop by in the afternoons to check my meter or any necessity to wait in line at the bank, chat with the cashier, pay my bills, crack a few jokes.

All of this bringing to mind my tale “New World Man”, a family isolated within individual rooms of a house, locked in their own private worlds, largely oblivious to each other. Is that where we’re headed? Is that how you want to live?

This is what I read just last night by Emily White in You Will Make Money in Your Sleep: The Story of Dana Giacchetto, Financial Adviser to the Stars:

In Seattle our multimillionaire friend Thomas Reardon spent more and more time in his basement, playing games on his wide-screen TV, games where he fought his way into the interior and came out victorious, a winner. If it took three days to win, he would play for three days straight. He ordered all food delivered and he said soon there would be no more books. People would just read books on a screen.

These end-of-the-millennium technological dreams were part of some unsettling sci-fi kid alienation and reductiveness, the idea of things disappearing instantly, like being beamed out of the starship Enterprise. Books would disappear. Trips to the grocery store would disappear: You could log on to and check off your list. Trips to the video store would disappear: You could log on to, and they brought videos and food within thirty minutes. Piles of bills would disappear because you could pay them online. Trips to the record store would disappear because music could be downloaded straight off the Internet.

The boys were designing a world that would disappear but they didn’t know what would appear in its place.

Down my street, I’d hear the rumble of the Home Grocer trucks, I’d wonder if this was the sound of the future: trucks rattling the windows, and no one going on errands anymore. I thought about my mother putting on lipstick to go to the grocery store, and I wondered if such social gestures were part of the past.

— pgs 138-139

Does anyone other than me notice that the alienation started with the ascension of the automobile? People still did a lot of walking when I was a kid in the 1960s. Today, I see nearby people get in a car to drive to a store I get to by walking.

The creatures I have to endure in my proximity when using mass transit didn’t exist when most people used mass transit. The deviants knew they were outnumbered. But those everyday people have left. I get to places surrounded by social mutants out of some mad scientist movie. In a city where they will throw you in jail for simply owning an unlicensed gun (with rules that prevent you from legally owning a gun!), I feel like prey.

I hope I never get to the day when I have to order everything delivered. By that time, even the delivery people might be mad scientist freaks.

Blog Notes: What Brings People Here?

January 26, 2008

Writer Cliff J. Burns stopped in to ask about Victor Gischler’s work. I wound up going to Cliff’s blog. At one point, he mentions search terms that have led people to his blog:

10. “stupid editors at publishing house”
9. “male masturbation hobbyists”
8. “words that rhyme with forget“
7. “fantasy invisibility sex stories”
6. “man is not born a thief but circumstance”
5. “stories about wrestling action figures”
4. “pissing snap on mouth”
3. “will short child be short adult”
2. “opinions are like assholes”

–and, at numero uno, easily the most fucked up turn of phrase that people used to find my blog: “self pissing for pleasure”.


I don’t know how Cliff sorted that list. Here’s what’s leading people to this blog today, from most-used search term to least:

cloudbook delay
mike cane 2008
cane 2008
everex cloudbook wifi?
webclipme -“clipalizer goes” -“Popular W
eeepc screen -touch larger 8
eeepc merom
sony book reader compatability
last fm bit rate
eeepc cloudbook
michael cane on heath ledger
“raumpatrouille orion” music
jk rowling documentary youtube
trent reznor love life
dominic sandbrook thunderbirds
asus eee trackpoint
“iPod air”
sony reader europe why not
the greatest ipod apps
cloudbook vs. eeepc
iPhone webclip icons
asus eeepc mouse
Everex CloudBook

And this is what’s bringing people to my old and dead dead dead blog today:

iphone upgrade
iphone upgrades
hot movies
hot sex
iphone update
eee xp
samsung q1u
eee osx
iPhone upgrade
hot daily motion
loop icon
sex photo
office iphone
The good life sitcom
eee versus
google sex free
heather johnston in courtroom
big dick big balls
iphone + update
amd geode lx 900 vs 900 celeron m
officer joe bolton
iPhone update

The sex-related search terms that lead people to my dead blog are mostly due to one post I purposely created to lure people in. And it has nothing to do with sex! It’s a cheat. A carnival barker’s spiel.

Overall, I’ve been disappointed with what brings people in. Primarily it’s been tech terms. Neither my old blog nor this one are tech blogs. As much as I try, I can’t keep tech out. But I’m always conscious during the course of the day about the ratio of tech to other subjects in posts.

I’d really like to see the names of writers leading people here. That was seldom the case at the other blog. Is it that people no longer read books? Or having read a book, have no curiosity about the writer? Or maybe my blog is just so far away in search engine results for writers I mention that people are satisfied with the first page of results they get? Maybe all they really need is the Wikipedia entry?

I guess Cliff can at least take some satisfaction that most of his leads aren’t coming from tech subjects!

You’ve Never Seen The Ramones Done Like This

January 26, 2008

Now you have.

For my pal, Jim. (Oogoo told me to do it!)

— swiped from Very Few People Are Going To Read This — which more people should actually read.

Victor Gischler’s Next Book

January 26, 2008


Oh baby!!!

Victor Gischler is a raving, badass genius.

This is what I wrote of him earlier:

Gischler does breathtaking, breakneck plotting of the kind that I don’t think has been done since the heyday of Cornell Woolrich. It’s truly amazing shit that will make you go dizzy! But while Woolrich’s work was always tinged with a sensitive melancholia, Gischler shares Bill Bryson’s knack for going at things with all-out flat-out floor-the-pedal two-fisted gusto. It’s like taking a ride on a roller coaster designed by someone who’s totally and gleefully insane and wants you to share his crackpot state of mind. That Gischler is apparently sober and sane makes his work all the more remarkable!

With this book, Gischler is veering out of the mystery/ crime fiction/ strange noir vein and into what his publisher says is science-fiction. Whatever. After people read this book, I’m certain science-fiction will undergo another redefinition. Gischler cannot be constrained by foolish marketing categories.

The publishing world will shake on its release date: July 8th.