My goal was to finish between the 9 minute pace sign and the 10 minute pace sign. I did. This year the fancy chip timer worked so I can tell you with confidence that I had a chip time of 29:54, which was good for 24th in my age group. My splits were 9:58 and 19:58, but those are both in clock time, not chip time. I averaged 9:39/mile. I didn't walk for the first two miles, and then more or less fell apart in the last mile, with 3 short walks and one longer walk. I redeemed myself somewhat by digging for fire and sprinting the last 150 meters of the race.
Overall this was slightly better than last year's time. Perhaps more importantly, even though it was my first race of the year it would have easily been my second best time in 2012, behind only my 29:03 PR.
I went running fifteen times prior to this race for 26.8 miles total. Only two of those were longer than a 5-K, and both of those were fartlek sessions, so this was really my first long run of the year. However, I also biked 7 days for a total of 97.9 miles. That may not have helped the sprinting much, but it sure didn't hurt the resistance to pain, which for me is almost always the limiting factor. If my legs don't hurt, I don't have to walk. If I don't walk, I get better times. So biking saves my knees, and indeed today my knee didn't hurt at all; it was all calf and foot pain.
The next confirmed race is the Color Run on June 8.
- The Chronic Rift Roundtable: Surely You're Joking, Dr. Wertham? A recording of a panel held at the SoHo Gallery for Digital Art, as comics writers Denny O'Neil and Danny Fingeroth, cartoonist/designer/historian Craig Yoe, journalist David Hadju, psychiatrist and author Dr. Sharon Packer, and pop culture librarian/academic Carol L. Tilley examine the influence of Dr. Fredric Wertham, and his polarizing work Seduction of the Innocent on the comics industry in the 1950s and beyond.
The Cinefantastique Spotlight: Ray Harryhausen. CFQ Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons are joined by John W. Morehead of TheoFantastique.com to discuss the legacy of the late, great Mr. Harryhausen.
Dead Kitchen Radio: The Keith R.A. DeCandido Podcast Episode 31: Tales from Dragon Precinct Part 4. I read the Dru-and-Hawk story, also a vampire tale, "Blood in the Water," from my new short story collection out this month.
The Weekly Podioplex May 14, 2013. Iron Man 3 rules the box office, but Star Trek Into Darkness is about to hit. Plus new stuff on DVD and Netflix, and more from Michael Falkner.
The Cinefantastique Interview: Frank Conniff. The former Mystery Science Theatre 3000 mad scientist's assistant talks with Dan Persons about MST3K, Statical Planets, The Wonderful Pundits of Oz, and more.
You can subscribe to the network at iTunes -- either the network as a whole or to individual podcasts -- and the podcasts are also available at the Rift web site or the Rift's page on Mevio. Please comment on the forums, or leave a message at 888-866-9010, or e-mail john at chronicrift dot com, or like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @chronic_rift.
The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise by Hanne Blank – I have a passion for how-to books, for some reason. Some books I’ve loved recently have been how-to guides on being an activist, living car-free (something I don’t intend to do though I think it’s great if someone can do it), and sharing more with neighbors. Also, I’ve read a few of Hanne Blank’s other books and enjoyed them. This one did exactly as its subtitle says. Any woman regardless of shape may benefit from this size-positive, encouraging book. Grade: B
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick – This book was quite devastating. I didn’t know much about North Korea before reading this, other than that it has a Communist, totalitarian government and that it imprisons the families of people who have tried to escape (or succeeded in escaping). This book tells the life stories of a handful of defectors. You learn what day to day life was/is like in North Korea. They had a devastating famine in the 90’s and unknown numbers of people died. It was quite a heartbreak to read this book, and it provided a fascinating look at a world I knew little about. Grade: A
More books behind the cut!
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Okay, that's a bit immodest, but -- well, things are gonna get shaken up a bit. There were already two changes to the status quo in Goblin Precinct, one as part of the plot, and one at the very end of the novel, and there's a lot more shakeups to come -- along with the usual mysteries, intrigue, magick, politicking, and character stuff. We'll learn some stuff about Danthres, too.
Enough teasing. Back to the grind............
A - Age: 44.
B - Bed size: Double, though I try to get a King when I'm in a hotel.
C - Chore you hate: Cleaning the litterbox, which is why that's Wrenn's job. ;)
D – Domestic Animals names: Scooter (dog), Jezebelle, Rhiannon, Sterling (cats).
E - Essential start to your day item(s): Coffee!
F - Favorite color: Red.
G - Gold or Silver: Silver.
H - Height: 5'8"
I - Instruments you play(ed): Recorder, various bits o' percussion.
J - Job title: Writer/Editor.
K - Kisses or hugs: Yes, though if I had to choose, I'd go with hugs.
L - Living arrangements: A three-bedroom apartment in the Bronx occupied by self, girlfriend, roommate, and the animals named in D.
M - Mood: Generally happy.
N - Nicknames: KRAD, Bongo Boy.
O - Overnight hospital stays other than birth: None, thankfully.
P - Pet Peeves: People who don't think shit through (which, sadly, is most people). People who use "between" to refer to more than two things (which, sadly, is also most people).
Q - Quote from a movie: "I don't know, I'm making this up as I go." Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark.
R - Right or left handed: Right.
S - Siblings: Biologically, I'm an only child. However, Laura Anne Gilman is my sister by another mister.
T - Time you wake up: 6-8 hours after I go to sleep, whenever that is.
U - Underwear: Briefs.
V - Vegetable you dislike: Brussels sprouts, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower.
W - Ways you run late: Almost invariably due to the screwups of other people. I'm compulsively on time.
X - X-rays you've had: Plenty of dental ones, and my ankle once when I sprained it as a kid.
Y - Yummy food you make: Fried chicken, broiled lamb chops, tomato sauce (from scratch), pork braised in milk, "kitchen sink" casserole, chicken soup, some other stuff.
Z - Zoo favorite: Tigers!
Bashir’s aggressive flirting with Dax is met with an obvious lack of interest on Dax’s part. Bashir’s inability to take disinterest for an answer allows him to get hit really hard by Spice Williams-Crosby, but also alert everyone to Dax’s kidnapping.
To be cross-posted to sharon_alaska....
William, Vicky Vox, and Detox kicked it off with Boy is a Bottom. (I think that's what they performed. Or was it Chick-Fil-A? My memories of this event are extremely hazy which is why I will keep snarky commentary, or any commentary, to a minimum).
Detox. She's such a sweetie. It's hard to finish in 4th place and I hope she's ok.
And lots more pics behind the cut.
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Originally published September 25, 1998, in Comics Buyer’s Guide #1297
I still remember the first time he showed up in Tomb of Dracula, with a bandolier full of wooden knives, tinted goggles, a duffle coat, and more attitude than any five vampire hunters put together. He called himself “Blade” (which, admittedly, if you’re going to name yourself after your weapon of choice, is probably a catchier name than “wooden knife”). It always seemed to me that, whereas Dracula seemed to hold the rest of the book’s supporting cast in open contempt, there was something about Blade that the master vampire found unnerving.
Perhaps he saw the movie potential. Perhaps somehow he was able to intuit that while Marvel’s headliners would wash out in a series of films that ranged from embarrassing (The Punisher, Howard the Duck—although I suspect that if they were making the exact same Howard script now with the duck done in CGI, the film would be a hit) to unreleasable (Captain America) to unreleased (The Fantastic Four) to unmade (Spider-Man, tangled—naturally—in litigation), that it would be this third string character in a second-string title (no offense, Marv) who would be the first to vault to the number one box office slot.
Dracula is no longer a player in the Blade storyline. Intact, however, is Blade’s origin: Blade’s mother, while in the throes of giving birth to her son, is attacked by a vampire named Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff in the film, although he’s not silver-haired as he was in the comics). The attack has an even more pervasive influence on Blade than it did in his comic origin: In the film, he’s part human, part vampire, with a vampire’s strength and speed and also a vampire’s thirst for blood with which he’s constantly struggling. In a way he’s an amalgam of the comic Blade and another Marv Wolfman/Gene Colan creation, Hannibal King, the vampire detective (and boy, if they make a second Blade film, would he be an ideal character to introduce).
In the film, vampires are not simply monsters creeping about in the night. They are everywhere, having infiltrated the entire power structure of the human world. And within the vampire society, there are power struggles, with the old guard of “born vampires” struggling with the hotshot young vampires (led by Frost) who tended to remind me of the Lost Boys, or those vampires in that recent sunglasses commercial.
Bad to the bone, the young vampires like to get jiggy with it in nightclubs that spray blood from the sprinkler system and dream of a time when the world is entirely populated by vampires. Unfortunately, what the vampires would actually feed on should there be no humans to serve as two-legged hot lunches for them is never addressed. Then again, most of the vampires involved have the IQ of squash anyway, so it figures that no one would ponder the long term consequences involved in acing the entire vampire food source.
As incarnated by Wesley Snipes, Blade no longer bandies about wooden knives. Instead he wields a shotgun firing silver nitrate, or silver stakes, or some damned thing like that—I’m not sure, but it certainly was very loud. The duffle coat has been replaced by a long black duster, the ensemble of choice. Protruding from the top of the coat is the conspicuous hilt of his sword—which is probably not the smartest move, since we’re told that the vampires “own the police” and the visible sword virtually paints a target on the back of one of the most conspicuous guys in town anyway. Considering he walks about in broad daylight in that get-up, the police should be able to pick the guy up inside of two days.
But he still has the shades, and the attitude has made the transition intact as well. In fact, his single greatest strength remains his single greatest weakness. Blade cares about killing vampires in general and nailing the one who killed his mom in particular. That’s it. Nothing else. He has no hobbies, no other interests. He doesn’t engage in deep philosophical discussions, he doesn’t stop to smell the roses, he doesn’t take bossa nova or samba lessons. His character definition begins and ends with his name: Blade the vampire hunter. He uses a blade and he hunts vampires. That’s it. There’s nothing else. I mean, Batman is no less obsessive, but at least he’s got the mansion, the other identity, the playboy life, and a kid sidekick to lighten things up.
In short, Blade’s character is that he has no character. Dustin Hoffman’s Rain Man had as much development.
Fortunately enough, the filmmakers (Steve Barrington, who directs the film as a cross between a Universal horror flick and an MTV video) and screenwriter David Goyer do not try to “cute” themselves around Blade’s unswervingly one-note presentation. This would be the ideal vehicle for presenting a hero who mutters annoying one liners that serve as substitute for characterization. You know—like having him decapitate a vampire and say, “Now he’s a head of himself,” or impaling an opponent and saying, “Have some stake for dinner.” Instead, Blade—for the most part—says nothing.
There hasn’t been a lead character with so few lines since Holly Hunter in The Piano (unless you count Godzilla). Even Blade’s nominal love interest serves more as a means to an end (the end being, naturally, hunting vampires) than a source of affection. If Blade has any affection for anyone in the film, it’s Kris Kristofferson’s “Whistler,” (“He makes the weapons… I use them”) and even they are united by their mutual devotion to eliminating bloodsuckers. You don’t get the feeling that these are two guys who ever kick back and discuss the football scores.
At heart, Blade is a tragic character, never capable of having a “normal” moment of life, unlike Batman who can at least pretend to enjoy the sham playboy existence of Bruce Wayne. To be at its most effective, a tragic character should at least have some inkling of the tragedy that is his. Some modicum of self-awareness of what “might have been.”
Blade is wrapped so tightly, speaks so little, is so goal-oriented, that it’s impossible to get any sort of read off him at all. The events that Goyer’s script put Blade squarely into the middle of are sequences that could crack through his exterior, just a little, to get just a peak at the man rather than the killing machine. But it never happens. Blade is exciting, make no mistake. The visuals, the pyrotechnics are all exceedingly well crafted. Dorff makes a gleeful villain, and Snipes puts the “ic” in “stoic”—which is fine, if that’s all you want out of your heroes. It just becomes too one-note—by halfway through, you’re dying for comedy relief, for a bit of humanity within the hero, something to engage the heart as well as the mind. When you leave Blade you feel, appropriately enough, drained. But it’s not a particularly good feeling.
What did feel good was seeing the names of Blade’s creators up front in the credits. Big as life, Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan.
It’s unfortunate, then, to learn that Marv has since had to file suit against the film’s producers. “Blade” and “Deacon Frost” were, after all, created as part of the beloved work-for-hire agreement with Marvel. Called into question is whether Blade, as a character, could be shopped out by Marvel as a movie.
I’ve seen a lot of folks online debating the matter, because naturally this sort of thing always brings up recollections of comic creators going up against large corporations—usually with great futility—going all the way back to Siegel and Schuster. What breaks me up is when some folks proclaim that a deal is a deal, that’s it, graven in stone, no turning back.
It’s a very nice theory, and certainly the law backs that up. The entertainment industry, however, is a business, and in doing that business, renegotiation is routine, particularly when a property takes off beyond anyone’s expectations. (Which only makes sense, I suppose. No one ever wants to go in and renegotiate when a property does poorly.)
We see it all the time, particularly and most visibly when it comes to actors. Contracts which tie them to five figure salaries get tossed aside in favor of six and even seven figures if they’re in a position to make the demands. And the producers will enter into renegotiations because it’s the smart thing for them to do, at least in the short term. The entertainment industry is simply too small to annoy people who—when they’re in a position of strength—could turn around and cut you off when you’re angling for their services again. It’s smart business.
Two recent cases in point:
Parker and Stone, the creators of South Park, signed a fairly lousy deal with Comedy Central when the show was just getting off the ground. Who knew? Who knew that it would take off the way that it has? Who knew that there would be t-shirts with the many deaths of Kenny, or Cartman demanding Cheesy Poofs, or plush toys, video tapes, etc.? All of this largesse was going mostly into the pockets of Comedy Central.
It could be argued that Comedy Central was the one who took the risks, who paid out the money to Parker and Stone in the first place. If the show had tanked, Parker and Stone wouldn’t have felt constrained to give the money back. All quite valid. On the other hand, it was their creation which put all that money into Comedy Central’s coffers. It bugged the hell out of Parker and Stone seeing their creations merchandised, and they were making virtually no money off it. They complained loudly and publicly, and my understanding is that Comedy Central renegotiated their contract. If so, that was good business.
Then there’s James Cameron. With costs running wildly out of control on Titanic, Cameron signed away both his director’s fee and his profit share on the film. In a way, that was indeed an example of someone renegotiating downward when things weren’t going well from a profit point of view. At that point in time, Titanic looked to be a major money loser. Again, who knew? Certainly not Cameron.
However, as the movie receipts flooded in, Cameron steadfastly did not ask to renegotiate, even though the circumstances under which it had been made were hopelessly moot. “A deal is a deal,” said Cameron. The studio was within its rights not to do anything to change that status quo. Again, though, my outsider understanding is that they did, in fact, “do right” by Cameron. It would make sense. After all, this is the writer/director of one of the most successful films in history. It’s smart to make him happy. Good business.
And then there’s Marv Wolfman. Marv, who has no big power in the industry. Marv, who is part of the lowliest, most disposable rung on the Hollywood ladder: the writer. It would be smart for the producers to have made some sort of respectable monetary settlement up front. What would it have cost them, I wonder, if they’d been willing to do right by Marv? The monetary equivalent of one day’s shooting? Two, perhaps? This wasn’t a shoestring art film shot on a budget of fifty grand. This was a major studio, big budget release. The smart thing to do would have been to settle up front and quietly. Unfortunately, too often you deal with corporate arrogance—all the more pathetic when you consider that those same corporations will be more than happy to cut new deals for big-name actors.
Not with writers, though. “Come and get us, sucker,” they’ll say to a Marv Wolfman or an Art Buchwald. “Don’t even think that the art of renegotiation belongs to you. We’ll cut you to pieces, because we can.”
Corporations don’t concern themselves with matters of morality. Okay, to hell with morality, then.
This kind of arrogance—it’s just bad business.
Appropriate that it happens in relation to a film about bloodsuckers.
(Peter David, writer of stuff, can be written to at Second Age, Inc., PO Box 239, Bayport, NY 11705. Support Marv. Buy his new The Curse of Dracula comic book from Dark Horse.)