Tuesday, July 10, 2007

orchids and hemlock

The dog training, since you asked, is going very well. Dog has figured out that if he sits next to me and persistently places his nose between my right hand and either the keyboard or the mouse, I will eventually stop attempting to type and take him for a walk, while I for my part can get him to sit, lie down, come, or shake paws three times out of five if I'm also holding something he likes to eat and if there's nothing interesting going on and if he feels like it. I think we're both making excellent progress.

I just took him for a walk down in the woods (he took off after a wild turkey. On every walk we've been on recently he's wound up flushing a turkey, who then flies off making lots of noise, so he'll chase her and ignore the chicks. This time she ran off until he was well away from them, and then took to the air, and he vanished off after her, coming back five minutes later soaking wet and with large bright grass-green patches all over him) and the woods are a strange mess of wildflowers and towering giant hemlocks, and every few feet a wild gooseberry bush flourishes, leaving me puzzled why tiny green caterpillars devour all the gooseberry plants I put in while the wild ones grow like nobody's business.

(Excuse me. The Birdchick and her husband, non-beekeeping Bill, have just arrived with a new Queen for the Kitty hive. I need to go and put white clothes on and walk in the woods once more.)

Dan Guy wrote to let me know that...

The word cloud hasn't been updated since the server migration two+
weeks ago. Now that you're on a host to which I have decent access
I'm rewriting the word cloud's back end to be much more efficient.
(The label cloud is still operating normally, though, and now is even

Which is to say, the word count quoted was incorrect. Here are the
right numbers:

1,000,951 words in the blog
4,082 words are by Maddy recently guestblogging
996,869 words by you
3,131 words to go until you reach the million word mark!

So it's closer than I thought. Tick. Tick.

There's a song on the new They Might Be Giants album called "Careful What You Pack." According to Flansburgh, it was written for a movie but wasn't used. There's been some speculation that the movie was Coraline. Can you confirm?

I can. Yes, it's a song they wrote for CORALINE. There were a few they did that didn't get used.

Did Maddy like the Doctor Who Season Finale?

She really did. She even cried a little when the master died (I thought the death was great but was still a bit grumpy that my prediction that the master would be shot by his wife had come true). She liked it more than I did, really. I thought it was a bit of a curate's egg (in the erroneous sense of Good In Parts, not in the actual sense of All Rotten) but I would forgive a lot for John Simm's performance as the Master, which I loved, especially following Derek Jacobi's, which I loved in a very different way. And if it wasn't Blink or Human Nature, it still had lots of things I liked, and Utopia and The Sound of Drums were both enormous fun. Even if the Toclafane plot was the Cybermen plot of the season two end, and was also the Dalek plot of the Season one end. I hope that season four won't end with the discovery that somehow human brains are fuelling the New Mechanoids. And the least said about the mini-Doctor in the cage and the magic saying of the name that makes it all better, the better...... .

Hi Neil,

Your journal entry regarding your plans for Comic Con reminded me of the interview you recently had with Quint from Ain't It Cool News, in which you mentioned that on that Wednesday, July 25th, you would be hosting a showing of Beowulf footage, with Roger Avary, for a theater of about 400. My question is whether this is still going to happen, and if it is, what I can do to take part in it. (This is my first Comic Con, and would love to start it off right.) I apologize if this information is forthcoming, or if I just missed something. I'm so excited, I can't wait. Thanks for listening. (Sorry if I accidentally sent this twice.)


I'm not sure. If I find out about how people can get in to that -- or the Stardust event on the Thursday evening, or the event on the Saturday that I can't talk about yet, I'll post the details here.

I do know that the Beowulf panel and screening will be filmed and repeated, so if you miss the original panel you will still be able to see the 3D footage (and a film of me and Roger burbling about it) at some point during the convention. But I don't know if I'm allowed to say that yet. If I'm not, deny everything.

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