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Friday, June 29, 2007

Queen of the Road

So a few days back I was asked if I'd volunteer to take some photographs of Kevin and a few carefully chosen models for this year's tour van. I'm no professional, but some of the shots turned out pretty well, and one of them was actually used for one side of the van. Even better, Sylvia came out to the shoot since she's done some modelling in the past, and made the final cut. So this summer she'll be touring the province, larger than life, on the side of Kevin's van.

Hail Naes!

From: Earl J. Woods
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2007 8:37 PM
To: Sean Woods

From: Sean Woods
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2007 9:09 PM
To: 'Earl J. Woods'

I will watch this, no matter how horrible it is.

Hopefully it has dialogue that compares to that of the 1980 film.

“Congratulations, Flash – you’ve saved your Earth. Have a nice day.”

From: Earl J. Woods
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2007 9:24 PM
To: 'Sean Woods'

Premieres the day before the wedding…what kind of omen is that?

From: Sean Woods
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2007 5:09 PM
To: 'Earl J. Woods'

It disgusts me that you do not know the answer to this question. Very well, I will provide you with the meaning of the release date.

It OBVIOUSLY means that you need to hire a Ming stand-in that will make the crowd believe that Sylvia is being forced to marry him against her will. The vows to be used will be pulled directly from the 1980 Flash Gordon movie. When Sylvia gives the answer “I will NOT” to Ming’s vows/proposal, you will crash through the wall/windows/doors in your Corolla, which incidentally will be rigged to look like War Rocket Ajax. The crowd will scatter, and you will get out of the Corolla/WR Ajax and say “Forget it Ming, Sylvia’s with me!” You will push “Ming” to the ground, Dad will kick him in the ribs (in true Bob Woods fashion), and the wedding will commence as “normal.”

There. I’ve planned your wedding.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Never-Before-Published Mad Science Adventure!

Back in the 90s, I wrote a few comic strips for Prairie Jam, a publication of ESPA, the Edmonton Small Press Association. This is the last strip, gorgeously illustrated by Michael Gushue, never publicly revealed...until now! Don't forget to click to embiggen.

Supernatural Deal

Last winter, tickets for DJ Fresh Christ were selling for less than 50 bucks! Can't pass up a heavenly deal like that..
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Monday, June 25, 2007

Subtle Superhero Subtext

Why does Nemesis react so poorly to the other hero's friendly gesture? It seems like there's something else going on here, something I can't quite put my finger on.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Plot to Review the Plot to Save Socrates

Some time ago, I wrote a brief review of John Scalzi's Old Man's War. (Read the review at )
Author Paul Levinson left a short blahgthering on the review, and in response I mentioned that I'd been wanting to read his well-reviewed time travel tale, The Plot to Save Socrates, for some time.
That time has come - and without even meaning to, I've used the word "time" three times - whoops, now four - before even mentioning that the book's plot device, which drives the plot of The Plot to Save Socrates, is, you guessed it, time travel.
I love time travel stories. There's something compelling about the human desire to slip beyond our minute-by-minute existence and either correct an imperfect past or steal an advance glimpse of our tomorrows.
Levinson treats us to both in The Plot to Save Socrates. In brief, an American grad student runs across a never-before-seen Socratic dialogue, a dialogue that seems to hint that Socrates was, just before his execution, visited by a time traveller. From that starting point, an appealling cast of characters from ancient Greece to the mid-21st century tries to solve the enigma of the dialogue. Who wrote it? To what purpose? And is it possible that Socrates can be saved?
Like many time travel novels, the questions of paradox, predestination, fate and the urge to fight it loom large in Levinson's work. In fact, the philosophy of time travel has rarely been so thoroughly explored - Levinson can't resist having the father of philosophy himself weigh in on the debate, and Socrates' musings alone are worth the read.
Levinson's prose is clear, concise, and a pleasure to read, something he has in common with Scalzi, McDevitt and Haldeman, the three authors I mentioned in the review Levinson commented on. And thank goodness, because the novel's plot is rather Byzantine, with characters hopping back and forth through time and shifting points of view in both time, space and identity. A solid prose style combined with excellent storytelling ability is a rare thing, and made The Plot to Save Socrates a real pleasure to read.
I do have one small quibble. A significant subplot involving the ultimate fate of one of the leads was wrapped up "offscreen," as it were, resolved in narration rather than shown. I suppose I didn't need to be force-fed the resolution, but I was curious...
On the whole, though, The Plot to Save Socrates is worth a read because it raises the philosophical and moral questions of time travel in a new and interesting way. Is it morally correct to attempt to change history - even "for the better?" Does free will really exist, or is it an illusion? Levinson asks some pointed questions about Socrates' legacy too, and if you're a casual student of philosophy like me, you'll find the discussion fascinating.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dooley Elected?

On Saturday, June 9, I headed down to Drumheller-Stettler to support Tom Dooley, Alberta Liberal candidate for today's by-election. Tom is a stand-up guy; he's already a committed public servant, and a very warm, approachable, caring person. Rural Alberta is still pretty hostile territory for Liberals of any stripe, but Tom ran a great campaign and people in the riding have responded very positively to his genuine manner. Polls close in a few minutes, so we'll see to what degree his work - and the work of the dozens of volunteers who came out to help his campaign - has paid off.
The last time I campaigned for a candidate was back in 1986; I volunteered for Don Sparrow, the PC candidate for Leduc. (I was 17, and hadn't yet realized that conservative values are not my values.) It was a very different experience this time around, campaigning from the opposition side, and particularly in Stettler, where conservatism is, according to conventional wisdom, king. No one spat in my face, but there were a few pretty coolly polite responses.
On the other hand, there was certainly an undercurrent of discontent with the current government, and I found more Alberta Liberal voters than I thought I would. So perhaps the political ground is shifting. (We'll find out shortly.)
At one house, a huge dog, as tall as I was, leapt onto me, paws on my shoulders, tongue in my face. But, surprising myself, I was able to continue my schpiel. Dogs of that size usually scare the jeepers out of me, but somehow I managed to step outside and away from those emotions and focus on the job at hand.
It felt like a positive step. Of course, I did wind up with a pretty swollen right eye, thanks to my allergies. (A couple of fellow volunteers worried that perhaps someone had punched me.)
7:57 - time to see if Tom (and Craig Cheffins, our candidate in Calgary-Elbow) will be joining us in the Legislature.
UPDATE: Well, with 71 of 71 polls reporting, it looks like the PC's Jack Hayden has emerged victorious, with 58% of the vote; Tom placed second, with 14%.
FURTHER UPDATE: On the bright side, it looks like Mr. Cheffins has won in Calgary-Elbow, with 75 of 77 polls reporting; he's leading 45% to 38%. Considering this is former Premier Klein's old riding, that's a pretty satisfying result.