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Novel progress: going well, could be better February 5, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Fantasy, Novel, On Writing.
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Latest progress

Thanks to another week of daily writing (with the exception of Tuesday, when I only did a couple of lines), my fantasy novel has finally moved out of what I consider the ‘preliminary’ stage.  The protagonist has been through a rough couple of days- thrown into an unexpected battle, faced death more than a few times, and has now met the antagonist.  It’s finally time to begin the grand chase that will constitute the centerpiece of the story.

However, for whatever reason, I’m starting to feel a little flat.  Maybe I’m not skillful enough with my words yet, but I’m struggling to get things moving along lately.  Perhaps it’s because I still can’t keep myself from editing while writing (argh!).  I won’t stop trying though.

Word count

The great news is that I’ve finally pierced the 50,000 word ceiling!  Next target is 75,000.  Hopefully I can reach that target within the next couple of weeks. 

I suppose word count is not really something that’s bothering me at the moment.  The concern is really with the progression of the plot.  Fingers crossed that by 75,000 words things have moved a lot quicker than they did in the first 50,000.

A trilogy, perhaps?

I’m getting way ahead of myself here, but I don’t see a problem with dreaming. 

As my novel gets longer and longer, I’ve started wondering whether one book will be appropriate to tell the whole story.  Maybe I need 2 books, or even 3 (it will even allow me to save that prologue I was planning on canning earlier).  After all, most fantasy series come in at least 3 books these days. 

The problem is trying to figure out where to break the novel up.  The way it is structured now will pose some difficulties…Anyway, I’m thinking waaay too far ahead.  Finish the novel first, you idiot, then cut it up whichever way you want!! (I feel like going Christian Bale on myself)

Vote: He’s Just Not That Into You – who’s the hottest girl? February 5, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Entertainment.
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Who is your favourite?

Who is your favourite?

I finally figured out how to insert polls into posts, so I thought it would be a good idea to give it a test run.

My wife just alerted me to the film He’s Just Not That Into You (starting tomorrow), which has an abundance of supposedly beautiful Hollywood actresses including Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Ginnifer Goodwin and Scarlett Johanson.  Now that’s a pretty formidable line up.  I don’t want to pass judgment on the film itself (though from the preview it looks like it belongs in the cringeworthy category), but it will probably do pretty well at the Box Office based solely on star power and fans of the book.

So the poll question is: who is the hottest girl on that list?  Vote below. 

My wife and I both voted for Jennifer Connelly, but conventional wisdom tells me Scarlett Johansson may be the favourite.  Perhaps I can be proven wrong.

PS: Oh, and there’s a couple of guys in the movie too, like Ben Affleck, Kevin Connolly and Justin Long (one of the most widely used but underappreciated actors in Hollywood).

Slumdog Update: Protests, Giving Back and More Awards February 5, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Entertainment.
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slumdog-millionaireOscar front-runner Slumdog Millionaire is still dominating the press for various reasons, both good and bad.  As a result, this is shaping up to be a very interesting Academy Awards this year.  Will the voters stick with the movie or will they be swayed by the negative press?

Protests in Mumbai

Despite the success of the film worldwide, Slumdog Millionaire has been the subject of protests in the country in which it was made.  Naturally, there are those who believe it is a poor portrayal of India and in particular Mumbai.  We’ve also already heard about the child exploitation allegations.  Now according to Reuters, dozens or residents of an actual slum in Mumbai (where some scenes of the film were shot) protested against the film by “hurling insults and hitting pictures of its cast and crew with slippers”.

According to The Times, social groups in India are also speaking up against the film.  “Referring to people living in slums as dogs is a violation of human rights,” claimed social activist Tateshwar Vishwakarma, calling for effigies of director Danny Boyle to be burnt as a sign of protest.  A defamation suit was filed on 23 January against the film’s composer AR Rahman and actor Anil Kapoor (who plays the host).

Nicholas Almeida, another activist, was reported by MSNBC to be planning another lawsuit to change the film’s title.

On top of this, various Indian filmakers have also spoken out against the film’s Indian stereotypes and unbelievable plot.

Giving back to the Slums

With the blacklash in India running wild, The Times has reported that the film’s makers are planning an ambitious scheme to pump “significant” amounts of the film’s profits back into the slums of Mumbai (and perhaps the rest of India) by establishing a fund.  According to director Danny Boyle, the idea came to them after their successful night at the Golden Globes.

While refusing to specify exactly how much will be donated, Boyle said that the aim of the fund would be to assist underprivileged children and to distribute money to various projects.

The director has also defended the film’s title, stating that “slumdog” was not intended as an insult and was more akin to the word “underdog” – to connote the idea of a person who succeeds against all odds.

Slumdog bags more Awards

slumdogmillionaireSlumdog Millionaire picked up more accolades at the Richard Attenborough Film Awards handed out at the end of January.  The film won the award for Film of the Year, while Danny Boyle picked up another one for Best Director.  It was also good to see Dev Patel win a couple of awards, the Rising Star Award and the people’s choice British Breakthrough Star prize.

Other winners included Kate Winslet (Best Actress for The Reader), Mickey Rourke (Best Actor for The Wrestler) and Martin McDonagh (Best Screenwriter for In Bruges).  In the People’s Choice categories, The Dark Knight won best film and best score, while Mamma Mia! took the best British film prize.

NBA 3-Point Shootout Contestants Announced! February 5, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Basketball, Indiana Pacers, NBA.
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Granger takes aim

Granger takes aim

 3P Shootout Contestants Announced!

Danny Granger’s going to have a busy All-Star Weekend this year.

The first time All-Star (of the Indiana Pacers) will also be competing in his maiden Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout against two-time defending champion Jason Kapono (Toronto Raptors), Mike Bibby (Atlanta Hawks), Daequan Cook (Miami Heat), fellow All-Star Rashard Lewis (Orlando Magic) and Roger Mason (San Antonio Spurs).

The Three-Point Shootout has always been one of my favourite events at the All-Star Weekend and it will be great to see Granger showing off his long-range skills against the best in the league.  I’m rooting for him to take the title that Reggie Miller came agonizingly close to a couple of times, but Granger is definitely a favourite to go out in the first round judging from guys he’s up against.

Analysis

Let’s compare the contestants’ 3 point statistics so far this year.

Player (Games)

3PM

3PA

3P%

PPG

Bibby (47)

 114

279 

0.409

15.9

Cook (45)

 105

256 

0.410

10.3

Granger (45)

 120

299 

0.401 

25.5

Kapono (48)

 52

124 

0.419 

  7.9

Lewis (47)

 137

327 

0.419 

19.0

Mason (48)

 103

229 

0.450 

11.9 

 
The 3P Shootout is always a bit of an unpredictable affair in that game stats don’t necessarily translate to success in this type of continuous shooting format.  You’ve got the 2-time defending champion Jason Kapono who has only made about half the 3PMs of the next guy on the list.  You’ve got Roger Mason, who’s shooting at an impressive 0.450 (5th in the league and the only player in the top 20 for 3P% that has over 100 3PM) but has never really been a great 3P shooter before this season.  There’s the man who has shot more and made more than any other player, Rashard Lewis.  Then there’s the guys that rely significantly on their 3-point shot to get their points, Mike Bibby and Daequan Cook.  Lastly, there’s Danny Granger, who sticks out a little more than the others because he scores so many points and the 3-point shot is just part of his repertoire.

My Pick

Can Jason Kapono make it 3 in row?

Can Jason Kapono make it 3 in a row?

With this field of amazing shooters, anything can happen.  Especially if a streaky shooter gets hot, it could be all over for everyone else. 

The guys that tend to do well are rhythm shooters who can launch the balls consecutively and effortlessly.  The guys who struggle are those who take a long time to set their shots and have slow, methodical releases. 

While I would like to see Granger take it out, he’s just not enough of a 3P specialist yet – the only chance he would have is if he gets hot and his opponents struggle.  I’d have to say Kapono, with his experience, remains the strong favourite.  Roger Mason would be next in line, and Daequan Cook would be the dark horse.

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