What do Gregorian chants, Lion King, Star Wars, It’s A Wonderful Life and The Shining have in common? The Dies irae. A particular little four-note melody from early Minor Mode chants which pop-culture has coopted as the music of suspense/death/horror. Vox breaks it down, and it’s fascinating:
The following is a series of tweets from last night that were well received. I’m reposting them here for posterity mainly, and because it sucks to read Twitter threads. The thread was sparked by a variety of things: my opinions of The Last Jedi (I didn’t like it), how I’ve noticed some creators complaining about criticism and critique in general, and how respectful debate and discussion seems to have disappeared. As with everything on my blog, criticism and comments are welcome.
Know what? You can absolutely dislike something. You can tweet about your hate, and you can write hot-takes all day long on the platform of your choice. Look at you go.
But, you have to be willing to accept that other people may love the thing you despise. Their opinion is just as valid as yours.
Share your opinion. (They’re welcome!) Lay out your case. Invite discussion with those who are willing. But, let them come to you. No one likes the person who saddles up into someone’s mentions/comments to zing ‘em by telling ‘em why they’re wrong.
Oh and understand, if you say something no one likes, they may take their toys and go home. Or just ignore you. Often both. Does it make you wrong? Not necessarily. But it’s entirely within their rights.
Of course, if you listened like a reasonable person and engaged in a respectful manner, you’ll probably come to an understanding. (Fingers in the ears, insults, and shouting isn’t reasonable or respectful.)
This all goes both ways. BTW.
Oh, and the nature of public posts on a site designed for public engagement inherently invites comment. Thems the breaks ’round here. Welcome to the internet. (Yes, even if you’re all: “don’t @ me.” 🤔 Maybe especially.)
Don’t want to discuss? No problem! 🎉 There are tools to help with that as well. Consider a less public forum, make your account private, keep an IRL journal. Also, fan forums/sites exist for this very reason.
I think review, debate, and discussion make creative work better. We can (and should) learn from it. I learned a lot from design critiques in college, and I learn a lot from reviews now as a writer. So, yeah, I’m all for it. Just don’t be *that* person. Ya know?
Should you wish, you can read the tweets over on Twitter. If you have any thoughts or opinions, feel free to leave a comment below.
Naming a project can be a complicated affair, and when you have a series with an enormous fan base, I am sure it’s even tougher. As expected there has been a lot of discussion around the internet regarding the announced title for Star Wars: Episode VIII. The subtitle has a pretty common motif, and it got me thinking, we have…
…American Hero (Movie)
…Question (Short Story)
…Starfighter (Movie — thanks, Miguel! Can’t believe I forgot this one.)
…Witch Hunter (Movie and Vin Diesel’s personal D&D Campaign)
…Act (Short Story)
…Boy Scout (Movie)
…Voyage of the Starship Enterprise (SNL skit)
…Confession of Alexander Pearce (Movie)
…of Us (Game)
…News From France (Song)
…Song (Movie, also another movie, two novels, and a lot of actual songs.)
…American Virgin (Movie)
…Flight of Noah’s Ark (Movie)
and now: …Jedi (Star Wars: Episode VIII)
There is so much more I could have added. (The list could easily double in length.) Does this mean The Last Jedi is a bad title? No, but it’s fair to say it’s not the most original in the series. It’s safe, informative, and inoffensive which seems to be Disney’s strategy with the Star Wars franchise. Besides, I’m not sure it matters.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Juliet’s right, a rose by any other name would still smell good. In the end, The Last Jedi will still be Star Wars. It’ll most likely be as enjoyable as The Force Awakens. Fans will flock in droves to the theaters. But in a universe of Rogue Ones, New Hopes, and Empires Striking Back, I found myself wishing for something more.
It’s Friday! That means it’s time for the Friday Link Pack, my weekly post covering topics such as writing, art, current events, and random weirdness. Some of these links I mentioned on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! If you missed the post, please be aware, the Friday Link Pack is being sunsetted at the end of this year.
All right, business done, let’s get to it.
Top 10 Grammar Myths
From using the passive voice, to irregardless’ existence, and the infamous act of splitting infinitives. I think a lot of folks will be surprised at these ten myths. [Thanks to Will for sharing!]
Amazon Reworking Rules For Product Reviews
It was bound to happen sooner or later. False reviews made to push political or social agendas are getting the ax and the Amazon enforcement is coming. Also, Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists are apparently a thing, so… add that to the list of reasons to be disappointed in humanity.
Gifts For Writers, 2015 [NSFW]
‘Tis the season of gifting. Chuck Wendig, in all his profanity-laced style, compiles a list of gifts for us scribes. Featuring coloring books, neat portable lamps, and even houseplants, it’s a fun little list. If nothing here is your style, then consider perusing the Lovecraft-inspired Gift Guide I compiled a few weeks back.
52 YA Covers For 2015
Dan Wagstaff, over at The Casual Optimist has put together a list of some of the best YA book covers this year. Some of my favs from this list: Hannah Moskowitz’s A History of Glitter and Blood, David Almond’s A Song for Ella Gray, and Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows. It was tough to pick favorites.
Chef Jacques La Merde
Fancy food made from less-than-fancy ingredients photographed beautifully and described oh so perfectly. This goes from joke to art and then back to joke. It’s great.
Winners of the First Annual ‘Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards’
There’s wildlife photography, and then there is wild wildlife photography. This is certainly the latter. What’s your favorite?
In their recent show at Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles, the Polish duo Etam Cru presented their latest body of work. It’s amazing. Blending traditional approaches with a bold illustrative style this series combines subject matter the same way the duo blends styles. Beautiful work, it’s no wonder their show sold out. (I used a detailed version of their piece, Henryk Nowak, for today’s featured image.)
Star Wars: The Force Accounted
The Force is often used throughout the Star Wars movies, but by whom, and how often, and what do they do? There’s a lot to answer within that question. Thankfully, Bloomberg steps in to give us the lowdown on the usage of the Force from within the film, complete with interactive graphs and charts. A full (and quite thorough) breakdown.
Model Railroad of HP Lovecraft’s ‘Arkham’
A highly detailed and amazingly crafted version of Arkham at HO-scale. This really could have gone in the art section as well. I love the night shots. So cool. [Thanks to August for sending this my way.]
Get Rich Or Die Vlogging: The Sad Economics Of Internet Fame
The reality of the internet is likes, views, and RTs don’t pay the bills. (Even thousands and thousands of them.) I appreciate Gaby Dunn’s willingness and bravery to open up and put herself out there like this. Support the creators who’s work entertains you: buy their products, donate via Patreon, show your support with more than just clicks.
Telephone Repairman Follows His Dream: Designing Women’s Shoes
Chris Donovan spent 25 years at the phone company before he quit and jumped into something new and strange. A wonderful video about following dreams and never settling. If you are interested in more content like this, make sure you check out the documentary short on Kari-Lise: Overlooked Details, An Artist’s Journey.
Ten Cent Beer Night
“Ten Cent Beer Night was a promotion held by Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians during a game against the Texas Rangers at Cleveland Stadium on Tuesday, June 4, 1974. The idea behind the promotion was to attract more fans to the game by offering 12 U.S. fl oz (354.9 ml) cups of 3.2% beer for just 10 cents each (regular price was 65 cents) with a limit of six per purchase, but with no limit on the number of purchases made during the game. During the game, fans became heavily intoxicated, culminating in a riot in the ninth inning which caused the game to be forfeited due to the crowd’s uncontrollable rowdiness and because the game could not be resumed in a timely manner.”
H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:
The Horror in the Museum
Wax museums are creepy already and Lovecraft is bound and determined to make them even creepier.
GIF OF THE WEEK:
Friday is here! That means it’s time for the Friday Link Pack. My weekly post covering topics such as writing, art, current events, and random weirdness. Some of these links I mentioned on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Do you have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Let’s get to it…
Win A Copy Of Red Litten World
The Northwest Horror Podcast is giving away signed copies of my latest novel, Red Litten World. To enter just Tweet, Instagram, or Facebook them and let them know your favorite Lovecraft adaptation. That’s it! (You have until midnight, tonight.) Good luck!
Advice From The Creator Of Calvin And Hobbes
It’s no secret that Bill Watterson is incredible. This comic, based on a graduation speech Watterson gave at his alma mater, does a fantastic job in forcing us to reflect on what matters in our lives. [Thanks to Sky for sharing this with me.]
10 Scary Books That Will Seriously Keep You Up At Night
Huffington Post compiles a list of the scariest books and just in time for Halloween. For whatever reason, Old Broken Road isn’t on this list, but it should be. (In my humble opinion it’s probably the scariest of the series so far.)
Fear Never Leaves
If you missed yesterday’s post, I got all emo and reflected on the emotions that build up over the launch of a book, and talk about working through my fears as I continue to fight towards my successes.
Reimagined Disney Animals With Human Personalities
What if the talking animals from animated Disney films were reimagined and humanized? What would Simba look like? How about Baloo? Well, artist and illustrator Alaina Bastian has answered those questions and more in her series Humanized. There’s a lot of fun work here. [Thanks to Dave for sharing this with me.]
Mark Zug’s Art For The Dune Card Game
I’ve been on a Dune kick this year ever since I reread it this spring. This week I stumbled across these illustrations of characters for the Dune card game. (Which is sadly out of print.) Some amazing work here, but my favorite is easily the Jessica Atreides piece. (Which is also the image featured above.)
There is some disturbing and otherworldly about this cotton installation from Jennifer Strunge and Jonathan Latiano. It’s like a bizarre cuddly monstrosity is pushing in from some other reality.
Better Reasons To Boycott Star Wars
So, some internet trolls started the #BoycottStarWars hashtag for some stupid trolly reason, and it went viral, and the typical people freaked out. In response, the Washington Post wrote up this article to offer some funny (and not racist) reasons to boycott J.J. Abrams newest film.
Dropping Water Levels Reveal Hidden Church
It’s like something out of Lovecraft, Mexico’s record drought has revealed a creepy waterlogged church that dates back to the 1600s.
A Treasury of Rare And Weird Star Wars Posters From Around The World
A collection of amazing (and often strange) Star Wars movie posters from around the world. No idea what is happening in Russia. [Thanks to my buddy Bartek for sharing this.]
Smiley Face Murder Theory
The Smiley face murder theory (variations include Smiley face murders, Smiley face killings, Smiley face gang, and others) is a theory advanced by two retired New York City detectives, Kevin Gannon and Anthony Duarte, that a number of young men found dead in bodies of water across several Midwestern American states over the last decade did not accidentally drown, as concluded by law enforcement agencies, but were victims of a serial killer or killers. The term smiley face became connected to the alleged murders when it was made public that the police had discovered graffiti depicting a smiley face near locations where they think the killer dumped the bodies in at least a dozen of the cases. The response of law enforcement investigators and other experts to Gannon and Duarte’s theory has been largely skeptical.
H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:
GIF OF THE WEEK:
Dun dun dunnnnn… it’s Friday the 13th. While you’re avoiding mirrors, ladders, and black cats why not spend a few moments and browse a few links I’ve found over the last several days. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! All right, let’s get to it…
When To Stop Polishing A Manuscript
Hemingway was trolling you.
“Sponsored” By My Husband: Why It’s A Problem That Writers Never Talk About Where Their Money Comes From
It’s a few weeks old now, but I found this article from Ann Bauer poignant. Many creatives often hide the fact they are supported by someone or have been given a leg up. That dishonesty doesn’t help the other artists who might not be so advantaged and struggle to maintain lifestyles that are unreachable.
The latest series from my wife, oil painter Kari-Lise Alexander. I highly recommend checking this out and seeing her latest work. It’s quiet, serene, and beautiful. I couldn’t be prouder. Show opens tomorrow at Distinction Gallery in Escondido, California. Stop by if you’re in the San Diego area!
Detailed Close Ups Star Wars Spaceships
I considered throwing this in Random, but the artistry involved in these original models cannot be denied. It’s beautiful and detailed work.
The 10 Scariest Monsters From Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos
Den of Geek attempts to answer the question: which of the elder gods was the most terrifying? Not sure I agree with the outcome but it’s an interesting list and it features some obscure monsters. (Okay, it’s killing me! You had one job! ONE JOB! YIG!? Come on! The right answer was Nyarlathotep!)
Someone Flew A Drone Through Chernobyl And The Result Is Haunting
This short film from British filmmaker Danny Cooke blew me away. I had seen images of Chernobyl before, but moving through the landscape opens it up even further. There’s something so melancholy about the slow flyovers of Pripyat that I kept thinking about this video for days.
Scientists Plan To Resurrect The Woolly Mammoth, Jurassic Park-Style
Upside: as far as we know mammoths ate plants are are relatives to elephants. Downside: as far as we know… this is Friday the 13th after all.
[NEW!] Random Wikipedia Article of the Week:
Wherein I got to Wikipedia and hit Random Article until I find something good/weird/offensive/hilarious/interesting/etc. This weeks entry:
Fart Proudly, A Letter To A Royal Academy
“A Letter To A Royal Academy” was composed by Benjamin Franklin in response to a call for scientific papers from the Royal Academy of Brussels. Franklin believed that the various academic societies in Europe were increasingly pretentious and concerned with the impractical. Revealing his “bawdy, scurrilous side,” Franklin responded with an essay suggesting that research and practical reasoning be undertaken into methods of improving the odor of human flatulence.
Well… there you go.
Lovecraft Story of the Week:
Discarded Draft Of The Shadow over Innsmouth
I featured The Shadow over Innsmouth in the 10/11/13 Link Pack but since it’s Kari-Lise’s favorite Lovecraft story and her show opens this week I figured I’d feature it again. But! Instead of the original, why not read through the discarded draft. Dun dun dunnnnnn…!
Gif of the Week: