Thursday, September 16, 2004

Tapioca Calls

Today I nipped out to a local recording studio and recorded the "John Bolton Biography" from Harlequin Valentine as an audio Easter Egg for the DVD of "A Short Film About John Bolton", which New Video will be bringing out later this year. I'm really pleased it'll finally be commercially available.

The recording studio were very sweet. (It's a hi-tech backwoods place, in which I'd recorded everything for "The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection" earlier this year, along with the interview with me that Maddy does on there.) I warned them ahead of time I'd not be longer than 20 minutes, and they told me that in that case they'd do it for free. Thus increasing the odds of my doing my next full length audio CD there.

Michael Dirda, the Washington Post reviewer (otherwise known for touting the "intellectual" flatulence of Harold Bloom) reveals himself to be not so well read. Of course Gaiman did not create the Sandman. But I wanted to ask Gaiman why he spells Christmas as Xmas? Is it some kind of weird "alternative lifestyle" kink?

You know, Michael Dirda's easily the second best-read person I've ever met (John Clute's the best-read person) and an astonishingly sharp and perceptive critic. That we don't agree on everything we read means we have better and more interesting conversations about books.

Anyway, according to

X-mas ( P ) (krsms, ksms)n.
[From X, the Greek letter chi, first letter of Greek Khrstos, Christ. See Christ.]
Usage Note: Xmas has been used for hundreds of years in religious writing, where the X represents a Greek chi, the first letter of, "Christ." In this use it is parallel to other forms like Xtian, "Christian." But people unaware of the Greek origin of this X often mistakenly interpret Xmas as an informal shortening pronounced (ksms). Many therefore frown upon the term Xmas because it seems to them a commercial convenience that omits Christ from Christmas.

Bizarrely, it completely omits any reference to alternative lifestyles or kinks of any kind. I bet you could write to the American Heritage people and complain, though. They'd probably like that.

(Sorry to hear I'm not the creator of The Sandman. But please don't tell DC Comics' royalty department -- it sends me quarterly creator royalties, and I'd hate to see them stop.)

Hey Neil, I'm excited to see you at the Book Fair in DC. 1 hour of signing seems like a pretty short time for a Neil Gaiman signing, having been to a couple in the past. I believe your usual bookstore signing rules are that you stay and sign for everyone who's there when you start. Any idea how the 1 hour Book Fair signing will go? Should all us hardcore fans get there around 7 AM to make sure we get through? Thanks!Paul V.

Good question. I don't know. I doubt that I'll be allowed to stay a minute past my signing time, mostly because at 11:00 AM Robert B Parker or E. L Konigsberg will need my chair (here's the signing schedule.) It'll probably be an adventure to try and get everyone in the line all signed and happy, but I'll do my best, and that's infinitely preferable to sitting there disconsolately for an hour wondering why the other authors have lines and I don't.

(I'm sure that 7 AM would be too early, but you might want to be there by 9 AM to be on the safe side.)

Hi Neil.I remember you mentioning somewhere that a TPB of 1602 might be out in September. My birthday is in two weeks, and I'd like to tell my friends to get it for me. They can't do that if it isn't out yet. So any word on a release date?Thanks for all the words you write! raven

Some countries have a trade paperback out already, but the official US Marvel edition is actually a hardback. It's going to be oversized (I think) and it has lots of new material in it -- unseen sketches, the script for Chapter One, original pencilled pages, an intro by Peter Sanderson and an another one by me, and a new cover.

And I found out today when it's going to be on sale, when Marvel sent me a link to their 1602 Wallpaper, which shows the cover, along with an on-sale date of October 6th: (it's available in different sizes at

any chance we can find out what's in your Top 25 Most Played playlist on your iPod?

It's not much good to you, because I also use my iPod as an alarm clock, which means that it usually wakes me up -- especially if I'm in a hotel room somewhere -- with the Thea Gilmore playlist, because I like waking up to Thea Gilmore and I'm too lazy to change it. As a result of which my 25 most played things on my iPod are all from "Songs From the Gutter" or from "Avalanche".

I need to close a few windows, so here's an article about Fantagraphics. Nice photo of Kim and Gary and Eric as well.

More lego comics characters.

This is a link to a website on turning a fountain into ambient information. It's all bright and cheerful about ways to make financial information appear in sprays of water until you get to the end and it suddenly turns deeply creepy:

"In the park next to my home is a fountain. I can see it from my window. Day in day out it sprays its water in the same boring fashion, no information in there. I connected this fountain to the cell phone of my secret lover. The fountain now sprays high when she's in neighborhood and low when she's far away. It sprays wild when she is receiving many phone calls. Not spraying at all when her phone is off. People in the neighborhood think it's just a randomly programmed fountain, but they are not into ambient information like I am."



Incidentally, I got to see some interesting web-browser oddness last night and this morning. An HTML tag apppeared to be broken in yesterday's post, turning everything into bold type. But only in Firefox. In Explorer and Safari it was just fine (and couldn't be found or fixed.) (I forgot to check it in Opera.) Finally I realised I could fix it from Firefox, and I did. Sorry for anyone who was inconvenienced...

There. Now off to make Maddy a tapioca pudding, and watch an episode of The Goodies.