January 31, 2005
Book clubs are for losers with bad taste

I, too, have never been part of a book club, but I certainly don't spit on them from my lofty mountaintop like Li Robbins:

This instinctive aversion to the notion of book clubs springs from a deep-rooted belief in the essence of the experience of reading. (Does the phrase “solitary pleasure” ring any pleasant associative bells?) Reading is the greatest of great escapes. Reading is permission to simply be, to exist in another world, the world of the book. But you can’t maintain that Zen state when someone is wittering away about plot, tone and setting as though they are the new holy trinity.


[A book club] manufactures your experience; it does a disservice to the book-seeking heart. It puts that tender organ in danger of losing the pure experience of reading, the spontaneous pleasure of talking about what’s been read, the candy shop joy of choosing what you alone will read next. Let’s face it: clubs of any kind exist to homogenize opinion, or at the very least, tenaciously mould the honest instincts of their members.

Oi. Hate to pierce your Zen Zone, but that book you're reading sucks. It sucks!

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 11:48 AM
January 30, 2005
Gung Haggis Fat Choy Food Porn

Haggis wonton and spring roll

Tonight was Gung Haggis Fat Choy. The food was excellent (mmm, haggis!), and nicely photogenic.

More from Roland, natch.

Another flickr set.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 11:44 PM
Secondhand Shopping in BC

Now, I'm not going to say my family is cheap, but something tells me they'd want to know about Secondhand Savvy, "an on-line community of secondhand vendors and shoppers".

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 09:34 AM
January 24, 2005
bonnie 'prince' billy
so strap me on
and raise me high
cause buddy I'm not
afraid to die
cause life is long
and it's tremendous
and we're glad
that you're here with us
and since we know
an end will come
it makes our living
death to everyone, bonnie 'prince' billy, i see a darkness

I was recently introduced to Will Oldham, who also records under the bonnie 'prince' billy moniker. A profile from 2002.

For all that, he remains the most mysterious figure in contemporary American music, someone whose increasingly rare interviews often reveal nothing so much as their interrogators' fumbled attempts to get a handle on him. Oldham hates interviews. 'What are they for?' he asks me. 'They have nothing to do with the music. It's usually people asking a bunch of weird questions like, "Why are the songs so slow?" Well, maybe because they are. Because that's how we play them. Because I wrote them at a less rapid pace. It's always why, why why? Why everything? And the answer to "why" is because it just is. Things just are.'
Posted by Bill Stilwell at 10:40 PM
You get to sit with me AND have haggis

Get them while they're medium warm: 5 spots left at Bloggers Table at GungHaggisFatChoy.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 07:07 PM
January 23, 2005
Guide to Electronic Music

Very cool: Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music. (via.)

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 09:13 AM
Welcome to Vancouver!

One of flickr's hiring coups that seems to have gone unnoticed is Aaron Cope, a long-time Montreal programmer/artist/weblogger. A foodie of a high order, today we get his initial impressions of Vancouver in Things I have learned eating in Vancouver for two weeks. Can anyone solve his baguette dilemma?

I know the flickr folks are uber-busy, but it'd be great to see them at a Vancouver meetup.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 08:47 AM
January 22, 2005
A Scanner Darkly Needs Animators

More about the upcoming A Scanner Darkly, including a somewhat desperate sounding plea for more animators.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 12:32 PM
January 21, 2005
I Need More Beowulf!

A while back I posted about an upcoming Beowulf movie. Now a more mainstream Hollywood version is coming along, this time with a script by Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary and a $70 million budget. I have to say, Neil Gaiman is about the perfect person for the job; I'm sure he'll have something to say about this later on his website.

Update: He does indeed:

In 1998 Roger Avary asked me to cowrite a script for Beowulf for him to direct. We went off to Mexico together and wrote it as a sort of Dark Ages Trainspotting, filled with mead and blood and madness, and we went all the way from the beginning of the poem, with Beowulf as a hero battling Grendel, to the end, with Beowulf as an old man fighting a dragon.


Meanwhile Bob Zemeckis couldn't get our Beowulf movie out of his head. After the motion capture experience of Polar Express, he wanted to take the techniques on a bit, and make a film intended for adults with them. He and Steve Bing approached us about the script....

And, after a certain amount of to-ing and fro-ing over the last month, Bob Zemeckis will be making a film of Beowulf, from our script. Roger and I are signed on to do any rewrites necessary (I suspect that some things that were easy to write for live action would be impossible or extremely costly to do as motion capture. But then, things that would have been impossible to do as live action may be easy as motion capture, so overall it should work out.)

(No, it won't look or feel anything like Polar Express. When Bob Zemeckis told us the art style he had in mind our reaction was "Well, of course.")

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 09:00 AM
January 18, 2005
Die comment spammers die!

After clearing out a 100 comment spam attack on Sunday, Google's nofollow announcement is welcome news. (via.)

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 07:52 PM
January 12, 2005
Library RSS

Dynix is the first ILS vendor to vendor to announce RSS feeds, which is cool because the VPL catalogue is Dynix based. I can think of several possible uses for such things - I'd love to be able to subscribe to a feed for an author or subject I'm interested in to be alerted to new acquisitions.

Update: Make that "the second": Koha is an open source ILS that has been doing RSS feeds for quite a while. (And hey, according to their faq, a BC school district is one of the libraries using it.)

Now if Pollstar would just listen to my request for feeds. (Alternatively, all the bands I like could pay attention to this article and offer RSS feeds for news/tour info.)

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 10:54 AM
January 07, 2005
A Scanner Darkly Rotoscoped

I didn't realize that Linklater's A Scanner Darkly was using the same rotoscope technique as Waking Life. Take a look at some stills.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 12:02 PM
January 06, 2005
Sad But True

Dammit, Apocalyptica is finally touring North America, and they aren't coming anywhere near Vancouver.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 03:15 PM
January 04, 2005
Advanced Kayaking

This guy is going to win Best Kayaking Story competitions forever. (via)

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 06:24 PM
Indian Legends of Vancouver Island

An intriguing new Project Gutenberg release: Indian Legends of Vancouver Island, by Alfred Carmichael. Other formats here.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 12:41 PM