Daily Archives: April 7, 2008

Pre-Release Fun: Cloverfield, Sly Mongoose

I haven’t done DVD reviews regularly for more than a year now, so it’s been a while since I got a crafty little promotional package like this: The publicity pack for Cloverfield, in which the DVD and its attendant publicity materials come in a plastic case designed for archival video tape. It doesn’t top my all-time favorite (that would be the 25th anniversary re-release of Mommie Dearest, which came complete with a Joan Crawford-branded can of bathroom cleanser, which we actually ended up using when we ran out of Comet), but it’s nice to see the publicity folks are still getting cute with this stuff. And it’s nice they sent me this particular DVD, because ever since I saw the movie in the theater I’ve been itchin’ to freeze-frame it so I can actually get a clean look at the damn monster. Jerky-cam good for “you are there” faux-realism, bad for seeing actual big nasty creature. The DVD comes out April 22, in case you were wondering.

Also just arrived, literally three minutes ago: the ARC for Sly Mongoose, the next book from current Nebula nominee Tobias Buckell, who as many of you know lives just up the road from me. Sly Mongoose promises various tangy flavors of ass-kickery, as the guns-blazin’ cover suggests, and for everyone who complains you don’t get enough floating cities over burning-hot Venus-like planets in your science fiction, well, prepare to slake that thirst, friends.

In an interesting bit of trivia, Sly Mongoose’s official release date is August 19, which is also the release date of Zoe’s Tale. Given the simultaneous release of these books by two residents of the same state, each up for one of the two major awards in science fiction, I hereby declare August 19 as “Ohio is Coming To Kick Your Ass With Science Fiction” Day. You may feel as if you’re prepared for the futuristic Midwest onslaught that will go down on this day, but I assure you, you are not prepared. Yea, verily, the pwnage shall be epic. Fortunately you yet have time to fortify yourself. And also to pre-order.

Reader Request Week 2008 Wrap-up

In case you missed any of last week’s Reader Request pieces, here’s a handy link farm for you:

Reader Request Week 2008 #1: Homeschooling

Reader Request Week 2008 #2: Technological Gifts

Reader Request Week 2008 #3: Sex and Video Games

Reader Request Week 2008 #4: Where I Am Now

Reader Request Week 2008 #5: Professional Jealousy

Reader Request Week 2008 #6: Author Relations

Reader Request Week 2008 #7: Fame or Lack Thereof

Reader Request Week 2008 #8: Politics and the Olympics

Reader Request Week 2008 #9: Polygamy

Reader Request Week 2008 #10: Meeting Authors (and Me)

Reader Request Week 2008 #11 Athena and Whatever:

Reader Request Week 2008 #12: Soldiers and Support

Reader Request Week 2008 #13: Diminishing Returns

Reader Request Week 2008 #14: Quick Hits, Volume I

Reader Request Week 2008 #15: Quick Hits, Volume II

Thanks again to everyone who submitted questions!

In Today’s Shocking News, Bloggers Are Revealed to Be Unhealthy Obsessive Nerds

The New York Times, full of schadenfreude and concern, runs a story about pro bloggers and their unhealthy lifestyles, which may have contributed to the death of two prominent (if older) tech bloggers and the heart attack of Om Malik. It also reveals that pro bloggers often get paid crap and have pay tied to page views; i.e., if the blogger’s posts don’t have readers jabbing the “more” links like cracked-out lab rodents, the blogger’s portion of gruel will be extra small that evening. Add it all up and you get a bunch of mostly-young, mostly-male, mostly-OCD bloggers terrified to leave their crappy one-room Brooklyn apartments, ever, for fear they might miss posting about something that will generate enough page views to allow them to level up that month from ramen to mac and cheese. It’s blogging as gold farming. Well done, Nick Denton! Well done indeed.

Of course, who am I to say: I’m writing this before midnight on a Sunday, me and my doughy, marshmallow-pale abs, and I’m not even getting paid for it. Even the most humble pick-wielder in Denton’s virtual salt mines makes more from his blog-typery than I do. Fair enough. On the other hand, I am not daily compelled to post the blogging equivalent of empty calories — “Best of” lists that even VH1 wouldn’t touch for sheer, elemental shame, as just one example — in the hopes that enough nerdtards will favor me with a press of a “Digg it!” link that I can boost my page views into bonus pay territory. I like not having to intellectually humiliate myself online for page views. When I intellectually humiliate myself online, it’s for the pure pleasure of it. It’s a small yet telling difference.

(What about all those years as an AOL blogger? A monthly salary, independent of page views, and no limit on subject matter. And one of their main concerns was that I might update too much. Yes, it was a sweet gig; I doubt we’ll see its like again.)

Going back to the health issue, I don’t know if there’s much to be done to convince bloggers too paranoid/desperate for cash to leave their desks that getting out into the fresh air might do them some good, since I suspect it’s not the blogging that turns these fellows into phosphor trolls, it’s just their excuse for being so. If it wasn’t blogging, they’d be compelled to stay indoors and out of the sunlight for other reasons entirely. And for those reasons, they probably wouldn’t even get paid. The best we could do for these folks is maybe equip them with a stationary exercise bike with a flat surface they could rest their laptops on, so they could at least get some cardio while typing up blog snark. Heck, I might even do that myself.