Pixel Scroll 5/18/17 For I Am A Bear Of Very Little Files, And Long Scrolls Bother Me

(1) NO NEED TO SAY MORE. Michael Swanwick recounts what he labels the shortest and most succinct discussion about the horror genre in the history of the speculative fiction community:

MICHAEL SWANWICK: “I don’t like horror because it scares me.”

ELLEN DATLOW: “That’s why I love it.”

(2) A FINE ROMANCE. Welcome to 21st-century dating. “This Man Is Suing His Date For Texting During ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy'”.

Texting during a movie is rude.

Brandon Vezmar from Texas is taking a stance on the issue by suing his Bumble date after she used her phone during a movie. The Austin American-Statesman reported that Vezmar filed a small court claim for $17.31, the price of a 3D showing of “Guardians of the Galaxy 2.”

“It was kind of a first date from hell,” he told the local newspaper.

The 36-year-old said that his date was on her phone “at least 10-20 times in 15 minutes to read and send text messages.” According to Vezmar, he told her she should text outside, so she left and took the car in which they both arrived.

Ouch.

Vezmar claimed he tried to text and call his date before taking the matter to court. He tweeted a screenshot once his date sent a statement to KVUE anonymously to say that, while she felt bad that his feelings were hurt, she chose to leave because he made her feel unsafe.

“His behavior made me extremely uncomfortable, and I felt I needed to remove myself from the situation for my own safety,” the statement read. “He has escalated the situation far past what any mentally healthy person would.”

Director James Gunn, who might have stayed safely out of this, unfortunately decided to show his ass, as if texting in the theater was the entire issue.

(3) TRAILER PARK. Aziz H. Poonawalla goes into deep analysis about the Star Trek: Discovery trailer.

But really, hairless Klingons? With a H.R. Geiger armor aesthetic?

It’s not like we haven’t seen the 60’s aesthetic embraced by modern television. Deep Space Nine went there and did it brilliantly — they arguably made the TOS USS Enterprise look even more gorgeous than any of her successors, and they didn’t change anything about her at all — just lighting and texture. Enterprise itself managed to authentically portray a pre-Kirk technology chic that had a more industrial feel, which was utterly believable as the ancestor to the softened look of the Kirk era. I do not accept that the Kelvinization of the Prime timeline was necessary to modernize the production. After all, the aesthetic of The Expanse and Dark Matter is thoroughly modern but doesn’t have the same Kelvin fascination with chrome and glass. Not that I want any Trek to go the grunge-fi look, but I do at least want Trek to honor it’s own identity. This feels like a rejection — purely a Han shot first decision.

(4) MESSAGE TO THE PAST. If the term “calendrical rot” hadn’t been invented for a different purpose, and we had a way to send it into the past, it would find the perfect Petri dish in this incredibly technical discussion of alternate timelines in Star Trek held on Reddit in 2015.

(5) SASQUATCH APPROPRIATED. In the Walrus, Robert Jago introduces his op-ed about Canada’s latest cultural appropriation controversy with an sff illustration: “On Cultural Appropriation, Canadians Are Hypocrites”.

Harry and the Hendersons is a 1987 fantasy movie about a Seattle family’s encounter with a friendly bigfoot (Harry) and their efforts to protect him from harm before releasing him in the mountains of the Pacific northwest. It’s a forgettable film, but it has undoubtedly been seen and heard in more Indigenous homes than has the story of Sasq’ets–the original sasquatch.

Sasq’ets, whose name was one of the few Halkomelem words to make their way into English, was one of a host of other legendary “wild people” living in the forests on the Pacific coast. For hundreds of generations, Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw children were raised on the stories of the wild people and taught to listen for their characteristic hu-hu-hu calls. Sasq’ets, along with Dzunuka, were said to capture wayward children, take them away from their families, and eat them. With their supernatural healing powers, the wild ones were thought to be invincible; only once was a wild person taken by angry villagers and burned alive. But to the mortals’ horror, the ashes began buzzing in a tiny chorus of little hu-hu-hu’s, and each particle sought out human flesh. This was the origin myth of mosquitos.

Sasq’ets taught our children to stay out of the forests at night. It connected us to our part of the world, in the same way that Hansel and Gretel or Little Red Riding Hood connected Europeans to their ancient forests–and possibly for the same purposes. Our stories are works of genius and beauty, and vital to our relationship with the land. By no means do I want to restrict our legends to Indigenous people. I want you to know about Sasq’ets, and the psychedelically odd stories of the spirit of the South Winds, and all of the legends of our country.

But when the story is taken from us and told by outsiders without our involvement, its identity can be lost, and Sasq’ets becomes Bigfoot. The cultural dominance of non-Natives means that a B-movie like Harry and the Hendersons can have more influence over Salish children than the legend that inspired it.

(6) WESTLAKE’S BOND. Daniel Dern says be on the lookout for copies of Donald Westlake’s James Bond novel(ization) released last fall. “I’ve already just put a reserve-request in to my library.”

Forever And A Death

In the mid-1990s, prolific mystery and crime thriller author Donald E. Westlake submitted two treatments for the 18th Bond film (which would ultimately become ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’)….Never one to waste a good story, Westlake turned his treatments into a novel.

Dern adds:

Fewer Filers than normally expected might be familiar with Westlake, since he wrote near-zero scifi, by choice. OTOH, he wrote lots of great mystery/thriller/crime and other novels and stories, ranging from humorous, e.g. his John Dortmunder stories, and his tabloid-reporter ones, to serious, notably the ones written as Richard Stark.

See the Donald Westlake site.

My favorite Westlake book: Up Your Banners

(7) MACE WINDU GETS HIS OWN BOOK. The Jedi have always been the galaxy’s peacekeepers — but with the Clone Wars on the horizon, all that is about to change.

This August, writer Matt Owens (Elektra) will team with artist Denys Cowan (Nighthawk, Captain America/Black Panther: Flags of Our Fathers) to unveil the exciting story of one of the Jedi’s greatest warriors in STAR WARS: JEDI OF THE REPUBLIC — MACE WINDU #1!

One of the most accomplished and storied members of the Jedi High Council, his wisdom and combat prowess are legendary. Now, in this new story, readers will get to see Mace Windu lead his Jedi into battle, and face the ultimate test of leadership!

(8) PETER OLSON OBIT. SF Site News reports that Boston area fan Peter Olson (1949-2017) died April 28. He was active in NESFA and participated in the Ig Nobel Awards.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRLS

  • Born May 18 — R. Laurraine Tutihasi
  • Born May 18 — Diane Duane

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born May 18, 1897 — Frank Capra

(11) COMIC SECTION. John King Tarpinian says Ziggy has a point.

(12) WHIP OUT YOUR ROLL OF HUNDREDS. Nicole Pelletier on Good Morning America has a piece called “Classic Disney animation art featuring Snow White, Pinocchio headed to auction” about how a tranche of Disney cels from the 1940s is headed for auction in an event sponsored by Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies.

Bonhams Fine Art Auctioneers and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will present the movie memorabilia auction, “An Important Animation Art Collection, The Property of a Gentleman” in New York City on June 5.

The sale will feature more than 290 original Disney animation drawings, storyboards, posters, concept art and celluloids, according to Bonhams’ press release.

(13) WARNING LABEL. While I was browsing Bertie MacAvoy’s Amazon page, I especially enjoyed this self-introduction:

Robert A.MacAvoy

If you are young to the S.F. field and don’t know who I am, I will prep you by warning that I often kill off my heroes, sometimes at the most unexpected times. But never in a depressing manner. I’ve never wanted to depress my readers. My outlook is essentially comic.

(14) DRYING OFF. This may be the first good news I’ve ever heard about a convention associated with the Ozarks. Nerd & Tie’s Trae Dorn reports how some fans are overcoming a natural disaster: “West Plains, MO Based Oz-Con Plans Game Day Event to Make Up For Canceled Day of Con”.

I think any reasonable person would forgive the con, considering this was an extreme, unpredictable situation where homes and lives were literally lost. What’s the Sunday of a con compared to that? To the extreme credit of the Oz-Con organizers though, they still want to try to make it right.

Yesterday Oz-Con organizers announced an event they’re calling “Flood Con.” It’s a free game day the con is hosting from 9:00am until 10:00pm on June 17th at the Missouri State University-West Plains Student Rec Center. Admission is free, but they’ll also be accepting cash donations and canned food items to help with ongoing flood relief in the area. There will be video games, tabletop games, and fellow geeks to have a grand old time with.

Admittedly, I haven’t heard much about sff in the Ozarks — just that famous story about the time Larry Niven arrived expecting to be GoH of Ozarkon only to find out the con had been cancelled. (Fans involve swear they tried to get a message to him, but in those pre-internet days it failed to reach him on the road.)

(15) FAME IN PIXELS. Who needs a monument when you can be an answer on Jeopardy!

(16) LOVECRAFT COUNTRY TO TV. Get Out writer-director Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and Warner Bros Television are teaming on Lovecraft Country, a one-hour drama that has been given a straight-to-series order by HBO.

There is connective tissue to Peele’s breakout genre feature Get Out, which brought a Black Lives Matter theme to the horror genre. Lovecraft Country, the 2016 novel from Matt Ruff, focuses on 25-year-old Atticus Black. After his father goes missing, Black joins up with his friend Letitia and his Uncle George to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America to find him. This begins a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the malevolent spirits that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback. The goal is an anthological horror series that reclaims genre storytelling from the African-American perspective.

[Thanks to Carl Slaughter, Andrew Porter, JJ, Dawn Incognito, Daniel Dern, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ky.]

122 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/18/17 For I Am A Bear Of Very Little Files, And Long Scrolls Bother Me

  1. First? (Though maybe not by the time I finish this comment.)

    I wrote about the “Parker” series Westlake wrote as Richard Stark, last year on my blog, and something I noticed about it:

    Except for the eponymous Parker, everyone — EVERYONE — in the series is expendable. Backs are stabbed (sometimes literally), crosses doubled and tripled, loyalties abandoned without hesitation, lives taken without a second’s hesitation or regret. Forgiveness and mercy are for chumps, and chumps are the most expendable of all. Betrayal and death can come at any moment.
    And the thought struck me: “Oh, this is like Game of Thrones, if GoT was set in the 1960’s criminal underworld, and people like Roose Bolton, Walder Frey, and Ilyn Payne were the primary characters.”

    (I later learned, yep, GRRM is a fan of the Parker books too.)

  2. I had occasion to read a whole bunch of Westlake’s Dortmunder novels in a row. They really hold up. Only mild impatience hearing similar introductions of regular cast members and situations.

    Are we scrolling pixels yet?

  3. (2) A FINE ROMANCE.
    What a plonker. Also, maybe don’t go to a movie for your first date. You just sit quietly staring at the screen (or in her case, her screen).

    Better to do something more interactive so you can talk & get to know each other.

    (7) MACE WINDU GETS HIS OWN BOOK.
    Hopefully, he’ll get better treatment than in the movie where Samuel L. Jackson’s talents were wasted.

    ETA: Oh hey, Fifth!

  4. Westlake didn’t write much SF by comparison to his crime output, but he did enough to fill a short story collection — TOMORROW’S CRIMES, which includes his SF novel ANARCHAOS. And there are probably enough uncollected SFF stories to fill another collection, but probably not a distinguished one — his heart clearly wasn’t in SF.

    Later in his career, he also wrote a fantasy novel, HUMANS, and a comedy crime novel with SF overtones (an invisible man), SMOKE.

  5. Excited to hear about the Lovecraft Country adaptation, and especially Jordan Peele’s involvement. Apparently it was envisioned as a TV series first, which probably explains why I found the novel rather disjointed. Full of good ideas I’d love to see on screen, though.

  6. Westlake left the sf field with a flounce that was published in Pat & Dick Lupoff’s fanzine Xero. It’s included in their Best of Xero that Tachyon put out some years ago.

    Some recommendations, besides the Dortmunder and Parker books already mentioned: Adios, Scheherazade, a very funny novel about a paperback porn writer, and Dancing Aztecs, which I have read over and over and over again and it still makes me laugh out loud.

  7. Yay, Lovecraft Country! I’m still disappointed that it didn’t turn up on the Hugo ballot for best novel.

    Westlake’s alter ego Richard Stark inspired a whole flotilla of novels by Stephen King’s pseudonym Richard Bachman. I was just re-reading one of Bachman’s books when a blackout sent me to my physical bookshelf — Rage, the one that got withdrawn from print. And rightfully so because it’s basically one of his later villains like the ones in The Stand or It, but first person, shooting up a school and being antisocial. A story Alex from Clockwork Orange would like.

  8. (3) I have some reservations, based on that trailer. (About their chronological placement of it 10 years before Kirk et al, and about the ship’s design, which is definitely after the movies changed it. And WTF, in atmosphere???)

  9. (3) Would it kill them to turn on some lights? Actually useful lights, not accent lights?

  10. Charon D – Lovecraft Country was my favorite book from last year.

    P J Evans – that annoyed me in the 2nd Abrams movie too. The ship design was based around the concept that the ship was built in space and never entered atmosphere. They were supposed to use transporters and shuutles to visit planets. IIRC, transporters were invented to save the show’s budget.

  11. For someone that doesn’t like horror, Swanwick has sure done some creepy, borderline-scary stuff. Some parts of The Iron Dragon’s Daughter definitely had me quivering.

    As for Grossman–I’m not sure if it’s better or worse to make Jeopardy because of an adaptation of your work, or for the work itself. I mean, making it for your books alone is pretty impressive–you’ve got to be pretty notable for that to happen–but making it because of the tv show and/or movie just emphasizes that there’s a tv show and/or movie based on your work, which is pretty sweet. 🙂

    Pixel, pixel, little scroll; how I wonder who you’ll troll?

  12. (2) A FINE ROMANCE

    That guy has gone right off the deep end, and it’s clearly got more to do with his entitled attitude rather than anything that happened at the actual cinema.

    The worst example of screen use in a cinema I’ve seen was: a few years ago I took my daughter + friend to see The Lego Movie, on a weekend morning IIRC. (Umm, not that I wanted to see it myself, honest, but Lego Batman is the best Batman) Further along my row was a very similar dad+kids combo. Midway through the movie I get a bit of light in my peripheral vision, and turn round to see that the dad has got a full-sized laptop on his knee and is typing an email or something. During a movie whose moral is ‘pay attention to your kids’!

    (16) LOVECRAFT COUNTRY TO TV

    I’m rather excited by this news, particularly that they’ll be treating it more like an anthology of stories. It’ll be interesting to see if they go beyond the material from the book and introduce new stories.

  13. Mark:

    During a movie whose moral is ‘pay attention to your kids’!

    Yeah, but he’d have to pay attention to the movie to realize that, wouldn’t he?

  14. (2) James Gunn is still right though, even if this particular story may not perhaps be sufficiently humorous to justify it.
    If you don’t subscribe to the Wittertainment Code of Conduct, you shouldn’t be in a cinema.

    (For clarity, I am joking. But only just.)

  15. The ancient pixel will impede madness on those who dare to scroll it!

    (First time I used “impede’ in my Life, so its use is probably wrong, but who cares? You only life once!)

  16. (2) He’s way out-of-bounds, filing a small claims suit. He definitely has some issues.

    On the other hand, she says, “His behavior made me extremely uncomfortable”

    and I would say that yes, it should have, because after you’ve texted 15 times during a movie and your date asks you to stop doing so because it’s rude, there’s something very wrong with you if you don’t feel uncomfortable after having it pointed out that you’re being an asshole for doing so.

  17. Texting during a film? Maybe a bit gauche, but done right should not distract anyone else (unless they’re paying close attention to what you’re doing).
    Asking someone to leave because texting during a film? Likely to disturb at least a few seat neighbours, thus not recommended.
    Asking your date to leave the cinema, because texting during a film? In addition to previous, simply Not On. If it’s a strong “no-no”, simply do not schedule a second date, or wait until after the film and say “I would strongly prefer if you didn’t text during films” and hope the other person does not consider this a blocker.
    Feeling unsafe after having been asked to leave the auditorium, by your date, while texting during a film? Perfectly sensible, said person is probably going to have interesting control problems and seems to have next-to-no self-control. If that means “drive away”, do so.

    Me, I flip my phone either to “do not disturb” or to flight mode, but that’s because I want to do that.

  18. Ingvar: Texting during a film? Maybe a bit gauche, but done right should not distract anyone else (unless they’re paying close attention to what you’re doing).

    Sorry, no, I’m going to disagree totally with you on this. I went to movie with a social group. We had a bloc of tickets, and I had the misfortune to sit next to a guy who pulled his phone out and checked it every 10 minutes, occasionally texting someone back.

    It was hugely disruptive. The theatre was very dark, except for the screen, and every time he did this, my eyes would be stunned by, and then have to adjust to the very bright phone screen, and it would distract me from being absorbed in the movie. And when it went dark, my eyes had to adjust again. This happened repeatedly.And yes, it severely impaired my movie-watching experience.

    He didn’t ask his date to leave the cinema. He asked her to go out to the lobby if she needed to text. That isn’t a “control problem”. That is common courtesy in response to extreme rudeness.

    I hardly ever use my cell phone. I certainly don’t use it in dark places. And I find that people who use their cell phones a lot have no idea how incredibly rude and disruptive they are at times.

  19. (2) A FINE ROMANCE.

    This is the kind of joke I like, but I’m not stupid enough to say it on twitter.

    But that guy… not only suing a person for 21 dollar. Also contacting her sister and family. This guy exhibits pure stalking behaviour and is well above being just creepy. I hope there is some kind of blowback on this.

  20. Love Donald E Westlake. When I was taken on by my agent I was thrilled to discover that her agency handled Westlake’s UK and European rights. They’d just started bringing his backlist back into print when he died.

  21. (2) I don’t think anyone comes out of it well, even if Gunn meant it sarcastically (I think/hope he did). But anyway, I had to stop inviting one of my friends to the cinema because he would *constantly* check his phone (and also chew on pringles loudly). I generally turn mine off or just stick it on a timed Do Not Disturb for ~the length of the film. There is very little that will compel me to check my phone during a film showing – there is very little that is so urgent in my life that it can’t wait ~100 minutes – and if there is something like that going on, I typically don’t go to the cinema while it’s ongoing.

  22. 4) And I thought Back to the Future was a mess.

    @Ingvar: Someone in my field of vision using their phone during a movie is incredibly visually disruptive to me.

    That said, a small claims suit is ridiculous and idiotic. Gripe to your friends, gripe on social media, and move on.

    @Charon, funny on SFF Audio, when we did The Running Man recording, we were talking about other Bachman books off-air and Rage came up as one that was out of print and trying to figure out why.

  23. I’ve solved my problems by not going to the cinema, instead having a home cinema system with a projector. Means that it isn’t as dark why film is playing and thus not disturbing with people messaging or doing other stuff.

  24. JJ: Ah, I was trying to choose the right word, and either “screen” or “auditorium” would have been better than “cinema”.

    I still stand by “you can send and receive texts in a considerate manner in a cinema” and I do agree that having a massively bright screen is not “cinema texting done right”. If your screen is bright enough that it would compromise your night vision, it is too bright for texting in the cinema. And that is a lot less bright than people would normally expect, unless they’ve spent a lot of time having to rely on night vision.

    Of course, the simplest way is to, ahem, not text during the film at all.

  25. Ingvar: I still stand by “you can send and receive texts in a considerate manner in a cinema” and I do agree that having a massively bright screen is not “cinema texting done right”. If your screen is bright enough that it would compromise your night vision, it is too bright for texting in the cinema. And that is a lot less bright than people would normally expect, unless they’ve spent a lot of time having to rely on night vision.

    I will still disagree with you — because I can tell you that no amount of light from a cell phone held by the person next to me is not going to be disruptive to my movie viewing experience — and I will be sitting there unhappy that they are being so incredibly rude.

    But let’s assume that what you say is possible, if someone has set their screen dark enough and is being discreet enough. The problem is, that’s a hypothetical “it could be possible to do this”. She obviously hadn’t done that.

    And seriously, someone who can’t sit through a 2-hour movie without checking their cell phone once — never mind 15 times! — is the one with “self-control problems”, not the person who asks them to please either stop or take it out to the lobby.

  26. I suppose there must be a way to text during a movie without your screen light disturbing people behind you, but I’m not sure what it is. If you can do so, fine by me.
    That said, one local cinema does some early morning “kids club” style showings which are explicitly anything goes – the lights aren’t totally dimmed so you can deal with kids needing to head to the loo midway through, you can bring babies in, rustle your sweets all you want, etc etc. Frankly, anyone texting during one of those showings would be less distracting than much else!
    (Which is really the point – what are the reasonable expectations of other people at the showing?)

  27. If your attention span is so short that you can’t watch a movie in a theater without dividing your attention between the big screen and a small screen, then maybe you shouldn’t go to the theater in the first place.

    Harrumph.

  28. @ Peer
    “Impede” is a great word, but I think you might want “impose” in this case.

    As to texting during a movie, yes, it’s disruptive and therefore rude. As to the departing date, I wonder whether anything other than the interaction described made her feel unsafe. We do know that the man’s reaction to a disappointing date is to sue the woman: not useful or proportionate behavior.

  29. Guys need to learn… Always go Dutch on a first date. Dont pay until you know she likes you.

  30. If your attention span is so short that you can’t watch a movie in a theater without dividing your attention between the big screen and a small screen, then maybe you shouldn’t go to the theater in the first place.

    On the other hand, if your sense of proportion is so warped that your reaction to a bad date is to sue, then maybe you shouldn’t go on a date in the first place.

  31. JohnFromGR: If your attention span is so short that you can’t watch a movie in a theater without dividing your attention between the big screen and a small screen, then maybe you shouldn’t go to the theater in the first place.

    Kyra: On the other hand, if your sense of proportion is so warped that your reaction to a bad date is to sue, then maybe you shouldn’t go on a date in the first place.

    There’s no question that both of these people have issues — his are apparently more serious than hers, but I note that she does not dispute his account of her texting 10 to 20 times during the movie (which cannot be explained as “I was concerned by his behavior, so I texted my friend to come get me”, since she took the vehicle they came in and left), so her cellphone co-dependency and rudeness do not seem to be in question.

    I wouldn’t want anything to do with either of these people if they crossed my path.

  32. I would guess that the two moviegoers met up somewhere prior to going to the cinema. They then piled into the lady’s car to drive to the movie. Which she took when she felt unsafe.

    I hope Brandon did not text his friends for a ride home while watching another showing.

    Poor guy, stranded after a bad date.

  33. Director James Gunn, who might have stayed safely out of this, unfortunately decided to show his ass, as if texting in the theater was the entire issue.

    I don’t see anything offensive about Gunn’s joke. He was poking fun at a ridiculous situation.

    Inside Edition got the man and woman from the date to reunite at the theater (he said on Twitter it was an ambush). She apologized and gave him $17.31 in exchange for him dropping the suit. He did not apologize. (Inside Edition pays for stories and was dealing only with the woman, so it’s possible she made a nice profit.)

    The happy ending to the story is that any prospective date of Brandon Vezmar can find him on Google, now and forevermore, and see that he can’t let go of even a minor slight without going full MRA.

  34. I still stand by “you can send and receive texts in a considerate manner in a cinema” and I do agree that having a massively bright screen is not “cinema texting done right”.

    Texting during a movie is incredibly rude. There is no phone screen so dim that it won’t distract the other moviegoers and affect their vision in a dark room.

    Phones vibrate. Anyone anticipating a message so important it can’t wait should sit on the aisle and walk out of the theater after it buzzes to check their phone. Everyone else can train themselves to go two hours without their digital pacifier.

  35. Our local downtown movie theaters, the State and Bijou in Traverse City MI, have a lifetime ban on anyone who uses a screen during a film. These theaters btw are run by Michael Moore (yes, that Michael Moore). The theaters are owned by the Traverse City Film Festival, which he founded.

  36. @Kurt Busiek: Westlake didn’t write much SF by comparison to his crime output, but he did enough to fill a short story collection — TOMORROW’S CRIMES, which includes his SF novel ANARCHAOS. And there are probably enough uncollected SFF stories to fill another collection, but probably not a distinguished one — his heart clearly wasn’t in SF.

    Westlake’s fantasy about an Anti-Santa (“Nackles”) was a story that Ellison wanted to do for the 1980s rendition of “The Twilight Zone” but as I recall, there was a conflict with the network about it which (if I recall correctly) led to Ellison leaving the show. The Dortmunder books are a lot of fun as are Westlake’s standalone caper novels (like “Dancing Aztecs”). About 4 years ago, a previously unpublished Westlake novel came out (“The Comedy is Finished”) about a thinly-disguised Bob Hope expy being kidnapped in the mid-1970s – I liked it.

    “Fifth Scroll and Seven Pixels Ago”

  37. 2.) I get the strong impression that the woman in question was only texting a friend from the cinema to provide the excuse to bail on a scary date. In one the interviews over the past couple of days he let slip that she told him “it was an emergency” and that she needed to step out to respond…

    (In fact, its good practice on first dates to arrange for friends to contact you half way through the evening, so you can bow out of a bad situation without less risk of retaliation.)

    His behaviour since suggests her instincts were spot on!

  38. At UWTC, I can generally judge the average age of an audience by the amount of lumens coming from their laps. Younger people in general check their phones frequently.

    (one of the edges I have over the younger ushers is the ability to turn my phone off and leave it my pocket for an entire shift.)

  39. … and he beheld white scrolls and beyond them a far green pixel under a swift sunrise.

  40. 2- There’s no correct or polite way to text during a movie. If you need to take a call or there’s an important text then it’s worth the time to go to the lobby and respond to it without distraction from the movie or distracting others. Nearly every theater has a little animated thing about this very subject prior to the film. Your text isn’t more important than everyone else in the theater who also paid for the movie, take that crap to the lobby. If you can’t help yourself from being able to do this simple courtesy stay home and watch Netflix.

    That guy is also a douchecanoe for suing in small claims court. Sometimes you date a rude person, that’s how you find out you’re not compatible and you move on glad for the knowledge that they revealed it early on.

    No one got out of that without looking like idiots.

    16- I think HBO is starting to worry about once GoT is over how many subscribers it might lose and is trying to get ahead of it which is opening up more opportunities for stories like Lovecrafy Country to shine as well produced series. Which is awesome, Peele and Bad Robot are a perfect pairing for the property and HBO behind it gives confidence that they’ll be able to do a great adaptation.

  41. If your attention span is so short that you can’t watch a movie in a theater without dividing your attention between the big screen and a small screen, then maybe you shouldn’t go to the theater in the first place.

    Yes, I think the guy should have concidered the 40ish bucks as a good investment in learning that the rude flake was someone he should be happy to never see again for the rest of his life.

  42. @2 made the BBC this morning; since I was at a somewhat-radical Shakespeare performance last night instead of chasing Pixels, I can imagine them saying “Lord, what fools these USians be!”

    @6: anyone who wants to write should be familiar with Westlake, as the way Dortmunder’s elaborate plots keep collapsing to pay (at best) minimum wage (except the one time he’s not trying for money) are beautiful constructions. His SF, written as Curt Clark, is forgettable; his ~fantasy Humans is not.

    @14: wow. I was at Discwave, and heard that a nearby outdoor SCA event canceled at the last minute due to a vile weather forecast last weekend, but I’ve never heard of an indoor con getting closed by floods. Kudos to the concom for putting together a replacement.

    I find the discussion about texting fascinating in so many ways.

  43. 2) Echoing Hampus, I’m not sure “he acted like a creepy entitled stalker but she was doing something we find very annoying so it all works out” is a great position to take, especially when it involves dismissing where she had to leave because he made her feel unsafe. It has overtones of the kind of excuses that get made for nastier behaviour.

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