Thursday, June 26, 2003

Distant Earl-y Warning

Having a girlfriend sure keeps you busy! But not busy enough to dissuade me from accepting yet another writing assignment: the “Small Scout Ships” book for the Traveler roleplaying game. That should get me some more geek points! My friend Colin Dunn has been writing a number of supplements for Traveler and Jovian Chronicles, and he was kind enough to foist this on off on – I mean, to give me the opportunity to put my own spin on this particular SF universe. Cool! I’m writing fiction – for MONEY!

Not much money, and it is a game supplement, not a novel, but still…

A strange idea popped into my head a few weeks back: what if I were to take some old science fiction novels and movies with “Earth” in the title and replace “Earth” with “Earl?” What kind of stories would result?

Well, I discovered that if I actually wrote the stories, I could actually construct a far-reaching narrative – dare I say, an epic? Check out this list of novels in the life of a mythical Earl, arranged in chronological order:

The “Day” novels (AKA the Earl-y Years):
When the Earl Was Young
The Day the Earl Stood Still
The Day the Earl Caught Fire
The Day the Earl Got Stoned
The Day It Came to Earl
The Day the Earl Moved
The Long Afternoon of Earl
When the Earl Tilted

The “Anatomy of Earl” series, comprising the novels:
Bones of the Earl
The Brains of Earl
The Monster from Earl’s End
Earl Made of Glass
Earl’s Oddities
Worms of the Earl
Terraforming Earl

The “Earl Enslaved” series, comprising the novels:
Earl Enslaved
The Stubbornest Broad on Earl
Subjugating the Earl
Dibs on Earl
Earl Can Be Fun
The Last Man on Earl
…And the Earl Did Not Swallow Him
The Man Who Fell to Earl
The Greatest Show on Earl
Earl Girls Are Easy
Twixt Heaven and Earl

Inside Earl:
The Hollow Earl
Cave Pirates of the Hollow Earl
At the Earl’s Core
Tarzan at the Earl’s Core
Maureen Birnbaum at the Earl’s Core

The Swashbuckling Years:
Earl, the Marauder
Earl vs. the Spider
Report on the Recent Outbreak of Entertainment from Earl
The Menace from Earl

Emperor Earl:
Imperial Earl
The Empress of Earl
Representative of Earl
Foundation & Earl
The Dalek Invasion of Earl
Galactica Discovers Earl
The Little Green Men Send an Ambassador to Earl
Prisoners of Earl
The Shrines of Earl
Exiled from Earl

Earl’s Offspring:
The Naked Earl
Before Earl Came
Earl Comes
Farewell, Earl’s Bliss
A Child of Earl and Hell
A Child of Earl and Starry Heaven
Daughters of Earl
Inherit the Earl
The Girls from Earl

“The Madness of Emperor Earl,”
An Earl Gone Mad
Cursed Earl Asylum
A Paradigm of Earl
This Island Earl
The Rise and Fall of Earl

Earl on Trial:
The Defendant Earl
The Case for Earl
I Speak for Earl

The Clone Wars:
Earl 2
The Fourteenth Earl
Earl Eighteen
Earl’s Other Shadow

Earl Under Attack:
Tom Swift and His Atomic Earl Blaster
Earl vs. the Flying Saucers
Invasion: Earl
The Day Mars Invaded Earl
Battlefield Earl
Suicide Ship to Earl
Earl Factor X
The Man Who Stopped the Earl
The Earl in Peril
Earl Needs a Killer
Retreat from Earl
The Ship That Saved the Earl
Invaders from Earl

The Twilight Years:
Pilgrimage to Earl
But What of Earl?
Ecce and Old Earl
Dawn for a Distant Earl
The Songs of Distant Earl
The Legend That Was Earl
Earl Abides

The Death and Resurrection of Earl:
Assignment: Earl
The Last Days of (Parallel?) Earl
The Earl Killers
The Destruction and Exculpation of Earl
The Man Who Killed the Earl
Earl on Fire
The Dying Earl
The Earl Dies Screaming
How Death Came to Earl
Exit Earl
The Late Great Planet Earl
When the Earl Grew Cold
Cold the Stars Are, Cold the Earl
Requiem for Earl
Soliloquy at the Tomb of Earl
Lest We Forget Thee, Earl
When the Earl Lived
The Spirit of Earl
The Man Who Saved the Earl
The Earl Doth Like a Snake Renew
The Earl is on the Mend

The Search for Earl
Earl Does Not Reply
The Quiet Earl
The Earl is Missing
Echoes of Earl
20 Million Miles to Earl
Five Million Years to Earl
Northwest of Earl
One Step from Earl
The Far Ends of Time and Earl

Earl’s Return
The Bridge to Earl
The Earl Gods are Coming
Earl in Transit
Earl Triumphant

Of course, there would be television spin-offs, including From the Earl to the Moon, Gene Roddenberry’s Planet Earl, and Gene Roddenberry’s Earl: Final Conflict.

Collectively, this massive work shall be known as The Earliad.

Oh, come on. You know you’d buy at least a couple of books in the series…

Sunday, June 08, 2003

Bulbs Selling Like Hotcakes

Lois Hole's Favorite Bulbs has sold out in a couple of places (I checked), and Lois is getting fantastic audience response to her speeches. Plus, I think Vegetable Favorites Mark II is going to be quite good.

In other news, I took Sylvia to the Hole's BBQ on Saturday. It was quite nice, aside from the mosquitoes, but Karen from cutflowers loaned us some Kids Off (great stuff - no nasty smell), and that took care of the worst of the bugs. Had a brief but very enjoyable talk with Leslie, got to know a couple of Hole's people a little better, and then went out to Steve Fitzpatrick's place to see the visiting Rob Day. Sylvia fits in with the geek crowd quite nicely, despite having a very low geek quotient herself.

Speaking of which, I took the online Geek Test and scored over 66% - which apparently puts me at #3 on the all-time list. I really hadn't expected such result. I guess I'll just try to enjoy my status as Geek God.

Friday, June 06, 2003

Some Days You Get the Bear...

...some days, the bear gets you. Sometimes the bear is an endangered species and you should call a forest ranger! Sometimes the bear is actually a robot guarding the Beam.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

More Curse of the Bloody Skeleton

Perhaps you noticed a cryptic blog entry a few weeks back: the opening teaser of a horror film screenplay. I've decided to move forward with the story, and here's what I've got thus far...


5. EXT. Main Street at dawn, just outside Pop’s Soda Pop Shoppe. It’s dawn, and POP PRUITT, a balding, greying senior, rail-thin, is sweeping the sidewalk before his store, whistling. Gentle music informs us that this is an idyllic small-town scene, in sharp contrast to the horror we’ve just witnessed. A young woman on a shiny red bicycle, a perky teenaged brunette, rides into view. This is PENNY PRUITT, POP’s daughter. She comes to a stop in front of her father.

PENNY: Hi, Daddy!

POP: Good morning, my dear. Where are you off to today?

PENNY: Chip and I are meeting some friends at the old amusement park. We’re going to set up some tents and camp out!

POP: I hope you’re not thinking of going near any of those old rides. They should have sealed off that place – it’s dangerous!

PENNY: We’re not going to fool around with the rides…we just want to camp out close to the beach. We won’t be anywhere near anything dangerous.

POP: Well, I don’t know…if your mother were alive…

PENNY: Daddy, what could possibly happen? Don’t worry – I’ll see you in a couple of days!

PENNY rides off, leaving her father shaking his head. As PENNY rides into the distance, he returns to sweeping.

CUT to

6. EXT. Further down Main Street, PENNY rides along. TRACK with PENNY as CHIP COWAN, her best friend, pulls alongside on his shiny blue bicycle. CHIP is around PENNY’s age, with close-cropped brown hair and fresh, exuberant features. He’s the All-Canadian boy.

CHIP: Hi, Penny! Is everything set?

PENNY: The guys already have the campsite set up! All we need to bring is…us!



In the distance, we see the hulking ruins of the old amusement park, not overtly sinister, but still somehow unsettling.

In a series of quick scenes, we introduce the major players.

ROBIN-SHIELA, an attractive young African-Canadian, is conferring with CHEST, a bespectacled Caucasian beanpole. The others amuse themselves by playing Frisbee, tossing baseballs, etc.

ROBIN-SHIELA: Chest, weren’t Rick and Elaine supposed to be the first ones here? They had all the sleeping bags and tents!

CHEST: They were working on a case for the Junior Detective Squad. Something about the Spectre of the Sideshow.

ROBIN-SHIELA: Not the Junior Detective Squad again!

CHEST: Yes, apparently there were strange, ghostly sounds emanating from the abandoned sideshow. Rick and Elaine speculated that one of the sideshow candy vendors, who was crushed by a falling roller coaster car the day before the fair closed forever, returned to haunt the park.

ROBIN-SHIELA: Bah! I don’t believe it. Why don’t our friends join the cool clubs, like cheerleading or baseball.

CHEST: Well, I’m on the debate team.

ROBIN-SHIELA: The debate team is not “cool.”

CHEST (hopeful): I’m going to be editor of the yearbook club next year.

ROBIN-SHIELA merely stares.

CUT to

8. The beach. CHASTITY DYKE and SHIVA MCANDREWS are playing Frisbee.

CHASTITY: Shiva, I’m so horny, even you’re starting to look good. You’re cute, but I’m not into girls.

SHIVA: Chastity, don’t you think about anything besides sex? Don’t worry – sunset’s only an hour away, and I’m sure one of the guys will be more than willing to service your needs.

CUT to

9. The beach. PITMAN SPEER and FENTON NG are laying out towels. PITMAN is a muscular black male; FENTON, a thin, reedy Asian-Canadian.

PITMAN: So, you going to make your move on Shiva tonight?

FENTON: Nah. She’s way out of my league. Besides, she’s had a crush on Lance since she was eleven.

PITMAN: Lance is a dillweed. Besides, he’s had his eye on Siobhan all year.

FENTON: Yeah, but Siobhan obviously has a huge Sapphic crush on Preeta.

PITMAN: Which is ironic, because Preeta is totally into Chastity, who doesn’t have a lesbian bone in her body despite having a last name like “Dyke.”

FENTON: Can you put a lesbian bone into a body?

PITMAN: Anyway, don’t let Lance stand in your way. Brains will win out over brawn every time.

FENTON: Except when it comes to getting laid.

PITMAN (considering): Hmm.

CUT to

10. Bikini-clad damsels PREETA HUJANDULEEP and JULIE NYMFO are stretching out on their towels to do some tanning. PREETA is watching CHASTITY play Frisbee; JULIE watches PREETA watching.

JULIE: When are you going to figure out that Dyke…isn’t?

PREETA (sighing): I can dream, can’t I? The only girl in school who isn’t bisexual, and I fall for her.

JULIE: We all want what we can’t have.

PREETA (singing): I can’t get no…na na na…Sapphic action…na na na…

JULIE (exasperated): Here, let me rub some suntan oil on those huge boobs of yours, paying special attention to your turgid nipples.

As she moves into position to do so, we CUT to

11. EXT. the beach. LANCE BOYLE and JACKSON BOWMAN, sitting on the rear bumper of the Cadillac. The trunk is open; we can see coolers behind them, presumably containing food and beverages. LANCE is a long-haired, athletic Caucasian, with the beginnings of a goatee. His friend JACKSON is African-Canadian, also athletic, but with a swimmer’s build.

LANCE (watching SIOBHAN, who is standing a bit farther down the beach with APRIL): Dude, I think Siobhan is finally warming up to me. I really cleaned up at the track meet.

JACKSON: She’d be more impressed if you cleaned up your act. We all like to let loose once in a while, but Siobhan’s a straight shooter – if she finds out you’ve been doing crack again, your chances will go from zero to…uh, less than zero.

LANCE (wounded): A little cocaine never hurt anyone!

JACKSON looks a little startled by this pronouncement.

CUT to

12. SIOBHAN KADESHI and APRIL RAYNE, standing ankle-deep in the surf, looking out towards the abandoned amusement park.

APRIL: Kinda spooky, isn’t it? Like the skeleton of some huge, ancient dinosaur that died just before it was able to devour its prey.

SIOBHAN: Nice simile, April. I guess Rick and Elaine were out there last night, investigating some spook or other.

APRIL: And they still haven’t arrived. Maybe they started investigating each other.

SIOBHAN (pensive): I’m worried. Rick and Elaine are usually so dependable. They were going to bring the root beer.

APRIL: Well, as founding members of the Junior Detective Squad, maybe you and I should do some investigating of our own. Maybe the Spectre of the Sideshow was too much for Elaine and Rick to handle!

SIOBHAN: No, let’s give them a little more time. If they’re not here by sundown, let’s see if we can convince the others to start a search.

CUT to

13. EXT. the beach. DILTON PUNK and JAMES “JIMBO” JOENS are throwing sticks into a pile, getting ready to start a fire.

DILTON (conspiratorially): Did you bring it?

JIMBO: Yeah, man, quit worrying.

DILTON: This is gonna be so bitchin’. I can hardly wait to see…

DILTON breaks off as ROBIN-SHIELA and CHEST approach.

CHEST: Look, I brought matches.


That's all I've got thus far. Yes, it's dumb as hell, but I'm having fun.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

The Play's the Thing

I've introduced Sylvia to one of the very best shows on television: Homicide: Life on the Street, via the Seasons 1&2 DVD box set. She loves it, much to my delight - the girl's got class. Remind me to write an analysis of the show's opening credits; I've been meaning to do so for a long time.

My friend Allan is telling me, via instant messenger, that he's working on a production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He's doing the sound and lighting. Very cool.