YReady, YSet, YGO! The YAmazing Race!

So, do you like free stuff? Do you like the internet? Well, then, you’re in luck! Starting today, you can participate in The YAmazing Race. What is it? Well . . .

This is a sort of blog tour being run by the apocalypsies, a group of authors whose debut middle-grade and young-adult novels are coming out in 2012. [My wife is a member.] The idea is this: you start off at the apocalypsies website, and it will point you to the page of one of the authors. There, you will read a little bit about that author’s book. Then, you’ll follow a link to the next authors’ page, and so on.

Then, you’ll answer a few questions about the books for a chance to win fabulous prizes!

Fabulous prizes!!!

To quote the start page, “We’ve got more booty than a pirate dressed as Jennifer Lopez!”

Note, although it is a “race,” the contest is about accuracy, rather than speed. You’ve got a week. Read the full rules, and get started here.

What do the authors get out of this? Well, the idea, of course, is to generate some exposure for their books.

What do you get out of it? Two things. First, you might win some free books, gift cards, t-shirts, CDs, and so on. Second, you might discover the next book you want to read. Or maybe the next book you want to buy for your fifteen-year-old niece, who is suffering from withdrawal after having finished the Twilight books.

So, go, GoGO!!!

Ronin Goes Social

So, as I wrote previously, the Ronin Institute website is now up. Its blog, which you can find here, is being filled in with reposts of Ronin-related things from here. That’s all done now, though, and future posts will be original. Well, maybe I should let you judge whether or not they’re original, but at least they won’t be copied and pasted from previously posted material.

Also, the budding Ronin Institute is starting to go social. I’ve set up pages on Facebook and Google+. Feel free to like/circle them!

Ronin socializing at a Quinceañera. They grow up so fast!

Nietzsche Family Circus

So, here’s a little something that will keep you entertained for a couple of hours. Nietzsche Family Circus pairs random Family Circus Panels with random Nietzsche quotations. Try it out here.

Here are a few samples:

Die at the right time!
Nothing is beautiful, only man: on this piece of naivete rests all aesthetics, it is the first truth of aesthetics. Let us immediately add its second: nothing is ugly but degenerate man – the domain of aesthetic judgment is therewith defined.

I think I am too sarcastic to believe in myself.

Win an advance copy of Remarkable (and other stuff, via Jessica Spotswood)

So, we’re now within three months of the release date of my wife‘s debut middle-grade novel, Remarkable. One of the interesting side benefits of this has been that she has gotten to know a number of other authors whose debut middle-grade or young-adult novels are also coming out this year. One of those other authors is Jessica Spotswood, whose debut young-adult novel, Born Wicked, comes out from Putnam on February 7.

If you want to get a feel for Born Wicked, the publisher has actually put together a trailer, which you can watch here (Apologies. I could not figure out embedding.)

Also, if you hop over to her blog and comment on this post before Sunday, January 15, you will be entered in a drawing to win one of three advance copies of Born Wicked, or an advance copy of one of three other books: Gilt by Katherine Longshore, Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne, and Remarkable by the awesome, unparalleled, gorgeous, brilliant, talented, remarkable! Lizzie K. Foley.

So, get on it!!

Vacuum-packed flesh love

So,  I can’t decide if these are brilliant and beautiful, or weird and creepy.

Oh, right, I almost forgot: both!

This series of portraits by Photographer Hal is called “Flesh Love.” Apparently, these couples were vacuum packed and then photographed. Then, presumably, dissolved in lye and recycled into Soylent Green.

Here’s what Google Translate has to say about the project:

If the lover and hugged, and sometimes I still Shimaitai melted. Because I realize that, for small spaces and Club has taken a couple in a bathtub. Degree of adhesion of the work is moving into something more dense. By increasing the degree of adhesion as a result, the two applications would be an integral part of community. They almost ended up with this couple and vacuum pack. Has teamed up film sets in the home kitchen. Vacuum at times overlap each shot even more, the body bends each other irregularities and joint community started taking the two applications, we want to represent the couple paid to the form. Steadily shrinking the distance between two people, soon to be transformed into one. 

While looking at the vacuum pack is jammed full of people LOVE fresh, if we can join hands to go to the link between people who like these two, not by peaceful conflict like war The world must be. Vacuum packing is only just taking me way. It’s important to link it.

You can see the whole series here.

via Laughing Squid.

Show, don’t tell. The Brindley lecture on erectile dysfunction

So, if you’ve ever taken a creative writing class or workshop, you’ve undoubtedly been enjoined to “show,” rather than “tell.” It’s one of those writing rules that is commonplace to the point of being cliche. In fact, many instructors feel sufficiently self-conscious about offering that advice that they feel obliged to provide caveats. You know, sometimes telling is the right thing to do, and, of course, it depends on how you tell. Blah, blah, blah.

I’m hoping that this blog has at least one reader who has taken a writing course in Japan, because I’m curious as to what the analogous rule is there. Based on a non-comprehensive sampling of dating simulators, manga comics, and Murakami novels, I imagine generations of Japanese MFA students being told “Tell, don’t show!” You know, “Hi, my name is Haruki. I often come off as brash, but underneath it I am actually quite shy. Also, I had a good, healthy bowel movement this morning.”

Anyway, speaking of “show, don’t tell,” I just came across this brief memoir, published in 2005 by Laurence Klotz in the British Journal of Urology International. He fondly recalls a lecture by G. S. Brindley at the 1983 Urodynamics Society meeting in Las Vegas. Brindley had just made a breakthrough in the treatment of erectile dysfunction through self-injection with papaverine. [Note, I don’t know where the “self-injection” has to be.] After showing a series of photographs of erect penises, Brindley wanted to demonstrate that the effect was not the result of a confounding erotic environment:

The Professor wanted to make his case in the most convincing style possible. He indicated that, in his view, no normal person would find the experience of giving a lecture to a large audience to be erotically stimulating or erection-inducing. He had, he said, therefore injected himself with papaverine in his hotel room before coming to give the lecture, and deliberately wore loose clothes (hence the track-suit) to make it possible to exhibit the results. He stepped around the podium, and pulled his loose pants tight up around his genitalia in an attempt to demonstrate his erection.

At this point, I, and I believe everyone else in the room, was agog. I could scarcely believe what was occurring on stage. But Prof. Brindley was not satisfied. He looked down skeptically at his pants and shook his head with dismay. ‘Unfortunately, this doesn’t display the results clearly enough’. He then summarily dropped his trousers and shorts, revealing a long, thin, clearly erect penis. There was not a sound in the room. Everyone had stopped breathing.

But the mere public showing of his erection from the podium was not sufficient. He paused, and seemed to ponder his next move. The sense of drama in the room was palpable. He then said, with gravity, ‘I’d like to give some of the audience the opportunity to confirm the degree of tumescence’. With his pants at his knees, he waddled down the stairs, approaching (to their horror) the urologists and their partners in the front row. As he approached them, erection waggling before him, four or five of the women in the front rows threw their arms up in the air, seemingly in unison, and screamed loudly. 

“I’d like to give some of the audience the opportunity to confirm the degree of tumescence.” Scientific meetings used to be so awesome.

I believe that I found this a couple of days ago via a Twitter or Google+ link, but I’ve lost the origin now. Apologies to the original poster/tweeter. If you know who it is (e.g., if it’s you), please let me know in the comments, and I’ll update with credit.