Officially Bored With Myself
Posted on August 21, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 101 Comments
Man, blah blah blah blah ego ego blah. If I’m bored with myself by this point, I can only imagine how the rest of you feel.
I’m taking topic requests for today and tomorrow. Suggest something for me to write about, not involving me or my career. I’ll put them up in a couple of “Quick Hits” posts like I do at the end of my Reader Request weeks (see: here and here). Come on, help a guy out of an ego rut, will ya? Thanks.
Comic books: Do you like them, if so what ones do you like, and would you ever consider writing some?
Actually, on reflection that completely involves you and your career, so please disregard.
Since you quoted Pink Floyed recently, can you discuss any effects of particular music on your writing. I often end up with soundtracks in my head while reading some stories, and I wondered if the same happens during the writing process for you, or if it influences the tone of what you’re writing.
For my previous: Sorry, that was about you and your career, but I felt compelled to ask.
Write something about the politics of your small hamlet. I know the economy is tough for many of your neighbors, but what are the local issues these days.
Cats? Maybe cat-toy design and the be or not-be of catnip in the filling?
Here is something I have been noodling about and would be interested in discussing. Autonomous companions (robot companions). We all know how many people geek out about their gadgets to the point of falling in “pseudo-love” with them. What will happen when we are at a point of affordable lifelike robots? Will there be laws governing use or abuse? Im not just thinking sexually (though that is interesting to ponder) but what if someone buys a “child” robots and “beats it” in public constantly? or a dog robot they kick repeatedly? or deity forbid, make snuff like films etc? I dunno, just been on a really weird mental kick lately
The new edition of Dungeons and Dragons, or some other role-playing game if you don’t like D&D.
If there was to be no more Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, etc. in the world ever again, would you switch to Pepsi, RC, Faygo? Or would you go thirsty?
What’s the dumbest thing you did as a child?
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?
Maybe your opinions on what’s going on over in Beijing?
IE: China having a huge gold lead over the US, etc…
Oh, I’d like to hear your take on vanity publishing scams etc. That would be deeply entertaining.
Pick a new activity that interests you, that has nothing to do with writing or science fiction–something you’ve never tried before but have always wanted to–and write about your experience of learning how to do it for the first time.
Something like motorcycle riding, or learning a new musical instrument, or learning how to fence, for example. Yes, it’s still about you and your experience, but it’s something outside of your comfort zone.
How about something in regard to the current situation between the U.S. and Russia?
With Russia’s bold movements in Georgia a few days ago, combined with their recent disapproval of Poland’s agreement for the missle-defense system, people like me are hearing echoes of Cold-war whispers. What is your take on the events that are happening?
Olympic beach volleyball babe butt-smack… I woulda. You?
How about something on the first day of school from a parent’s perspective
What do you think about the label “Generation X”? Do you feel like you’re part of that generation, and the label fits? Or do you feel like the whole generation has been misrepresented?
From your account of five minutes in a workshop in Austin: why is it important to suck?
What good blogs have you recently read? Why not just steal a topic from them?
You get a topic, they get awesome linkage, everyone wins!
O Bored Scalzi, it is clear what you must do. The Executive Committee of The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club offers the following topic:
Create a photo-essay of a Day in the Life Of Our Most Gracious Perfection and Her Loyal Minions Mighty Lopsided Cat and TempCat Zeus.
We believe pictures taken every 10 minutes for 24 hours, along with detailed descriptions of the transpiring events, would go a long way toward improving your reputation.
The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club
How about posting the winner(s) of the hate mail contest, with some discussion of why those particular hate-bits won?
What’s your opinion on online RP?
Or, as I’m sure some peoply are DYING to know, whether you think furry remains part of the sci-fi subculture, or has grown into it’s own.
Stupidest thing you’ve ever done that ended up changing your life.
Related to today’s subhed: Board games: best, worst, memorable game nights, if you ran Milton-Bradley, etc.
Home improvement projects, what’s a do-it-yourself kind of project and what’s an automatic call to the pros?
Dragons. Dragons are always good random subjects. Unless they’re the evil overlords, of course. Then they are neither good nor subjects. Unless you count being subject to overthrow.
Otherwise, there’s always cats. And bacon.
What was the biggest screw-up of the twentieth century?
1) The Pennsylvania granny who caught a kid that had broken into her house, pulled her gun on him, and made *him* call 911.
2) Do you re-read books? If so, which ones and why?
3) Barbecue: Texas, Kansas City, or Carolina?
Thoughts on the Bigfoot hoax? Do you know where he really resides?
Video Games – any aspect you wish
Journalism, your corner of it or in general. They’re telling everybody that’s in journalism right now to bone up on the internet, but it doesn’t seem to me that there’s room in that bunker for as many people as want to be journalists.Are we fucked?
On the Bigfoot idea, in your opinion who would win in a fight: ET with a light saber and a personal Holtzmann shield from Dune or a very nimble Bigfoot with a Klingon Batliff?
Also, I think your thoughts on string theory and faster than light travel would be interesting. Does it make you cry when people talk about stabilizing wormholes with exotic matter? Because it makes me cry.
What’s the last movie you saw? Are there any TV shows you are looking forward to this upcoming season?
How about this one: if you had to watch only one TV show for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I have read your translation of the Book of Genesis and found it intriguing – have you done or do you plan to do any of the other books of the Bible?
as a budding writer I have a question that has really been plaguing me. I have a storyline that I have been dreaming up for years. It is amazing (to me) and I cannot wait to write it.
My question is that since everyone knows a writers first few books stink, should I write what I love knowing my skills cannot do it justice or pick some other topic I am not as interested in, thus saving my first-love for later?
What do you make of Thunerd Storms, those interwebs crazes that brew up, make a lot of noise and then disappear.
I’m thinking of things like Snakes on a Plane or All Your Base Belong to Us, but you could extend it to the interwebs current obsession with bacon or lolcats which seem broader with potentially more staying power.
Are they normally organic or could a very crafty PR firms create them on their own? Most viral ad campaigns seem to be outed fairly quickly. Is this because PR firms are careless or maybe these things have to develop gradually.
And do these things translate out of nerdspace and into the real world? SoaP didn’t do much despite all the build up on the interwebs. Are these things always going to just niche phenomena?
I want to second the robot request, but with a bit of a twist: what is the state of the art for robot companions now and describe some good stories about how they helped disabled folks or spoiled kids or something.
I know the ASIMO wikipedia entry notes that ASIMO is available for UNDER $1 million dollars! Or for 1 year rental at just over $100k. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to band together and:
1) Rent a robot, reprogramming it
Sorry for the south park nod.
What is it about the smell of rain on the air?
What do you think about the current polls that indicate that John McCain is now tied (or ahead) of Obama in the presidential race?
Do you think it’s due to the negative advertising of the McCain campaign?
“How Did You Lose Your Virginity?”
You tell us, then we tell you. Just think of the fun!
The recent BigFoot sightings &/or carcass – Real or Hoax?
My cat’s breath smells like cat food. Discuss.
Alternatively, you could talk about Elizabeth Moon. I appointed myself Queen on a feminist military SF panel with her last year and had to keep stopping her from talking about being a marine. Fiction, woman, talk about fiction. Plus she had her GoH speech that afternoon and I didn’t want her to use up the good stuff. Did she behave at ArmadilloCon?
Hard to think what would be unrelated to you, since you would be writing it from your perspective, unless you wish to relay your objective observations on something scientific like how quantums change as we view them or maybe prove a geometric theorem (my first choice). What I do when I’m bored is find something fun to do because obviously I’ve been working and/or thinking too much. Well! There’s a topic! Fun: where it is, how to experience it and how to share it. Er, can you write about that from a totally scientific, objective standpoint? Please lay out your proofs carefully and provide a bibiliography.
As a Canadian, I watch the religious right (wing nutbars) in the US and shudder. These people were raised with religion, and believe in god with a fervour that frightens me. Yet, there are a lot of parents who are raising children outside of any formal religion, so that said children can choose something when they grow up. Do you think these children, as adults, will shun religion? Or do you think otherwise? We don’t have bible thumpers in Canada the way the US does, and I find this fascinating to watch. Rather like watching the cat barf. I don’t want to watch, but can’t seem to help it :)
Besides, I love to read your scathing, sarcastic blogs. They make my day!
I haven’t verified this, but I was talking to Charlie Stross at Denvention, and he mentioned that polls which follow the way the Electoral College really work — state by state — show Obama with an enormous lead. Look up the stats for me. I’m lazy.
I want a hole-in-the-wall update. Please.
OH, and second Mark’s suggested question/advice to first time writers.
I’d be interested to read your take on what writers can learn from genres other than their own. For example, as a writer of literary fiction, I’m convinced I can learn plenty from authors in popular genres. What can non-litfic people teach me about creating good books and a good career, John? Tell!
Skyline chilli: Worth the intestinal distress?
You could give your top five tips on how to become a published writer.
How about some articles on the craft of writing?
You could start with telling us what you told the workshop in Austin about it be ok to suck.
London, Ontario’s water bottle ban. What do you think?
What about the singularity. Thats a fun topic, and its very sci-fi-y
Scalzi translation of Genesis? Where can I find this?
Obama and McCain veep choices—how much does a veep choice matter today compared with 50 yrs ago and who would be your choice of veep if you were running for president?
I also want to second JReynolds’s and Sally Lou Liz’s options
A dissertation on Zombies. or parasites. or zombie parasites. or parasite zombies.
A grammar lesson: Why “Zombie zombie Zombie zombie zombie zombie Zombie zombie.” is or is not grammatically correct.
//I just like saying “zombie”
I would like a recap of your “bleeding heart liberal does military SF” panels. So would this guy.
Does that count as two votes?
What is the funniest thing your best friend has ever done that actually made you snort you laughed so hard then sworn you to secrecy about? :)
Tell us about something you love but would not normally admit to loving for whatever reason. (You seem really open about things normally, but there must be some secret shame somewhere …)
More background on the Life and Times of John Scalvi. ;-)
Something not about you or your career? Okay, how about your thoughts on special education in the public school system.
* Your perspective on microwaveable bacon
* I don’t remember seeing online the outcome of your Armadillocon fan bio (a little against your request and I’ve got a print copy, but I’m a giver)
* Scalzi’s parenting tips
* The importance of cover art and some your favorites
* Because you’re traveling so much right now, funniest thing you’ve seen in an airport
Drinking age: 18 or 21?
(I just happened to read a casual comment about drinking age in a blog post and, as usual, I’m baffled by the absurd 21 years limit in the States.)
What’s one book or movie that you would rewrite/remake, if you could? Something where the idea was promising, but the execution suffered for whatever reason, and it could be turned around by a different team.
What retro-future device (flying cars, food pills, android servants, bubble cities under the ocean, etc.) do you think we will actually see at some point in our lifetime?
When was your last moment of truly irrational fear?
Which celebrity are you compatible with?
Oh great and masterful alpha fan – I attended a panel at the last Balticon that bemoaned the death of the Fanzine. The panelist to audience ratio was aprox. 1:1.
Is the fanzine dead?
You could discuss how likely or unlikely it is that microelectronics will become more durable in the future, perhaps once we hit the limits of Moore’s Law and producers try to come up with other advantages than speed. Will we ever get laptops and cellphones (or whatever might replace these) that are reasonably easy to keep clean?
Do you believe in the “butterfly effect” theory? You know, a butterfly flaps his wings in the Amazon and it eventually causes a sandstorm in the Sahara.
Isaac Asimov. He is one of my all-time favorite SF authors (I think his books introduced me to the genre). You often mention Heinlein (which I barely knew before I started reading you, but will be looking forward to reading now) and sometimes Bradbury, but I don’t think I ever saw you comment Asimov’s work. I’m curious to have your take on it. Especially since one can see some familiarities between you (you both have written non fiction science-related books, and are producing books rather fast – of course you’re still nowhere asimov’s 300 something books, but give it time…-).
2. Except for Penny Arcade, do you read any webcomics, and if so which ones.
How would you have answered this question from Mind Meld, if they has asked:
Q: Science fiction, some say, is all about fostering change. But if you could change any aspect of the science fiction field itself – publishing, mainstream acceptance, fans, or whatever – what would it be and why?
How about a post on the status of the hate mail contest? :)
You can write about how you made Wil Wheaton look like Toger Woods…
@ 64. I’d also love to read about education, though my preferred focus more about higher education and the value/lack of value in a liberal arts degree.
I admit up front I did not read all of the responses in this thread. I apologize.
However, I think what some of us would like to know is, “What is Lopsided Cats reaction to all of your ego stroking?”
Cheryl Morgan commented in her blog on this underlying post regarding overlooking the Disabled as potential resources.
I like your writing and am curious if you choose this as a topic, what you would add to it.
Tell us more about that black velvet Wil Wheaton painting, and where we can get a matching John Scalzi painting.
Sorry about no tending that link code.
BTW- Fabulous considered evil action on the Velvet Wesley. An excellent perspective delivery.
When is it acceptable to use common sci-fi ideas in you own writing. Like Cryo-sleep and such. Or do you have to invent your own term for it to be used even though it is the same idea. Like Alastair Reynolds call it Reefersleep even though it is the same thing. Or the digitized personality like in Altered Carbon or The Culture. Although I’m sure no one could write a better or more entertaining scenario for farting someone to death. So you don’t have to worry.
A post dedicated to your love of Air Supply.
Please consider reposting your piece about “Scooby-Doo”. That’s how I found this blog, one of my favorite daily hits. Three or four years ago, “Slate” had an essay about one of the movies that had a link to it, but all I’ve ever managed to pull up is a 404 page (even through the Internet Archives).
Why do you think that “Disco Inferno” is the most evil song in the universe? Didn’t you say that once on “by the way”? I think that you did.
the platypus. it has venom in its ankles. isn’t that crazy?
Why the platypus is completely plausible and logical.
Now there’s a challenge for you. :)
You did a perfect analysis of the movie Stardust last year–you were exactly on target with how it would do in the movie theaters. Now, I am curious about the new Watchmen movie coming in I believe February 2009. Do you see it becoming a smash hit or just so-so? The internet buzz is enormous, yet that “enormous” internet buzz for Snakes on a Plane did not translate into people going to see it. Do you have any early thoughts on this movie?
Imagine, if you will, that you wander into your kitchen (complete with its thin film of drywall dust that magically gets everywhere) to find Athena sitting contemplatively. When you ask her what’s up, she tells you that she has just discovered that she has a Super Power.
What is Athena’s Super Power, and what are the surprising and oddly genuine-seeming ramifications?
(I’m betting it involves either bacon, a cat, or both.)
Sugar is not a food. It is a refined chemical that functions like an addictive drug.
Unlike tobacco, alcohol, or marijuana, sugar is not only added to numerous foods, but we are also getting our kids hooked on it.
What are your thoughts on the direction the Wheel of Time series has taken since Robert Jordan has died? I would appreciate any comments you have on Brandon Sanderson in relation to his authorship of the 12th book; or of Universal’s acquisition of the rights to make movies of the series, or of the Dabel Brothers announced graphic novel renditions of the series.
On the evolution of the English language because of technology and our ever-increasingly busy society/lifestyle. Specifically, the overabundance of of acronyms to take place of common phrases. I suspect 50 years from now, instead of just typing “ttyl”, people will actually be saying it. It’s a sad future.
Evan @ 90
As a recreational sugar consumer, I reject your stereotypical language of fear. Sugar has been freely enjoyed by Kings, Queens, Presidents, and the greatest minds of our time, not to mention the great minds of older times, and is a necessary component of relaxation for millions of Americans.
Don’t hate it just because you don’t understand it.
Also, if you tried it, maybe you would like it?
(yes, I am being facetious)
How about a post on your favorite element (like on the periodic table)???
Why not have Athena guest blog?
How often does Athena change clothing sizes?
Ghlaghghee is how insane?
Turn Old Man’s War into a porn flick.
How often do the zombies bitch about Kodie?
What is it about skiffy flicks and crappy scripts?
Do you have any superfluous iMacs looking for a home?
What are some of the most valuable experiences or skills people should pursue and how do those things contribute to making them a better person?
Ren-Faires. And, possibly, an idea for a sci-fi version of the same?
Has the conflict in Iraq had any positive side-effect on the acceptance of gays in the military or allowing women to move closer and into combat roles?
I know today and tomorrow have passed, from the perspective of this post, but how do you feel about the Hugo for graphic novel?
the end of the world
ya know with food prices rocketing, no fossil fuels, wepons of mass destruction, economic recession, darfur, ww3, global warming global dimming, freak weather, famine, bird flu, man-made diseases, sars etc, high suicide levels, high unemployment levels, the many rubbish books that come out every month, blah, blah blah…. …blah…
or whatever you want
chips, chickens, ants, turnips, methods to avoid being bored