Origins 2011, via Context-Free Quotes

Sitting here in the Milwaukee airport, waiting for the second leg of my flight home from Origins 2011 (on a related note: Seriously, Milwaukee Airport? Charging for wireless? I guess that old sign “Milwaukee Welcomes Visitors” sign from the opening credits of Laverne and Shirley was a LIE. A big, fat, bratwurst-munching, beer-swilling LIE. But I digress).

As is my tradition, I now present my impressions of the convention just ended, via the form of context-free quotes. Feel free to add your own in comments.

“When life gives you lemons, say ‘Fuck you — I want LIMES!”

“Hasn’t everybody bought it at this point? Every time ICONS pops back into the Top 10, we know that another African village was just connected to the Internet.”

“I dunno — you’ve gotta drill pretty deep to get past the GMS shale.”

“I’m being paid in Chocolate Tits and Temporary Tattoos?”

“Ah, me awful greedy.”

“Makin’ a bad t’ing good.”

“I deny your attempt to silver my back, sir.”

“How about a little ginny to help the chippies go down….”

“Posh people don’t say “yes”, they say “Ears.”…”

“Hi, I’m jailbait: Rocky penis?”

“Oh, Gareth’s always in a good mood about *something*….”

“UnderWorld is totally on my Hipster List.”

“That’s an Origins Award-winning shirt? — is there nothing you cannot turn into GOLD?”

“Rastathulu an’ de Elder Crew….”

“Damn that cheap Chinese labor!”

I may add more later via comments — I’m drawing a blank beyond the ones listed above, but I’m pretty sure there were more.

Friday Music

To quote Jimmy Fallon’s mockery of rock-radio drive-time DJs” “AND WE’RE BAAACK!”

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, and I need to get back into the habit, so let’s go, shall we?

First up, as promised in yesterday’s “Bondage” post, here is the full-length version of the theme song to the videogame “007 Blood Stone.” Many, many thanks to The Dastardly Best Friend for supplying my addiction. “I’ll Take It All” – Joss Stone and Dave Stewart.

Caught the first episode of series two of the BBC’s brilliant cop drama, Luther, and was immediately smitten with the music used for the closing credits. The band is The Heavy, from the UK, best known on these shores for their funk-soul-revival track “How You Like Me Know?” which has been used in more commercials and TV episodes than I can easily count. This is another track from the How You Like Me Know? EP. The Heavy – “Big Bad Wolf.”

J-Boogie is a San Francisco area DJ, whose band, J-Boogie’s Dubtronic Science, mix elements of hip-hop, soul, afro-latin percussion, jazz, dub and electronic. This is a track from their self-titled 2008 debut. It was featured as a free download this week on Epitonic, and if you’ve wondered where I get introduced to some of this stuff, there ya go. J-Boogie’s Dubtronic Science – “La Sangre.”

We’ll stick with the club-kinda thing. Here’s a very nice bit of Japanese hip-hop from M-Flo, from their best-of collection Award Supernova – Loves Best: M-Flo – “HEY! (m-flo loves akiko wada)”

I ignore her for a while, and all of a sudden Britney is cranking out dancefloor bangers again. (Or rather, her producers are sticking her voice onto some really great electronic dance stuff) This one, from the new album, even flirts a bit with dubstep here and there: Britney Spears – “I Wanna Go.” Guilty Pleasure, yes — but a pleasure nonetheless.

And speaking of Guilty Pleasures, I’ve been watching the new BRAVO competition series Platinum Hit, which is essentially “Project Runway for Songwriters” — a concept I’ve been wanting to see for years. Not bad so far, although typically, it spends more time on the interpersonal drama then on the creative process (which is what I’d find far more interesting). A good thing, though, is they smartly make the competing tracks available via iTunes. This was the winning track from the episode where they were tasked with creating a dance track — and judged by Donna Summer: Scotty Granger, Nicki Nittoli, Melissa Rapp, and Sonyae Elise – “Paint This Club With Amazing.”

So there ya go, kids. Enjoy, and I’ll do another one of these next week.


Long-time readers will know that I’m a huge fan of James Bond. As I mentioned in my Tour de Bond series from last Summer and Fall, I’ve been a fan since about age 10. Bond is essentially responsible for my career — I got into role-playing games when a friend gave me a copy of TSR’s Top Secret, because of my Bond-fandom. That led to D&D, which led to Star Frontiers… which, following down a VERY long path, eventually led to my career. I named my son after Ian Fleming.

I am pleased to note that I am currently steeped in Bond — the new novel, Carte Blanche, by Jeffery Deaver arrived on my doorstop this week (the day after my birthday, in fact), and I’m currently reading (and really enjoying) it.

Deaver, a NY Times bestselling author of dozens of thrillers, was tasked with the job of rebooting Bond for the modern day, and I’m pleased to report that he’s pulled it off brilliantly. He presents Bond in his early thirties, a veteran of Afghanistan, and recruited into a new secret organization, independent of MI5 and MI6 — essentially a post-9/11 version of the WWII-era Special Operations Executive (SOE). This neatly circumvents the fact that Bond’s adventures don’t meld well with the increased knowledge we have of how the British intelligence services actually operate, and gives us a fictional (but believable) organization with clear historical precedent that is tasked with “defense of the Realm by any means necessary” — which fits perfectly with Fleming’s original view of Bond as a “blunt instrument” of Her Majesty’s Government.

I’m also listening to a (*gasp!*) bootleg score recording from the recent original Bond videogame from Activision, 007 Blood Stone, which was composed by Richard Jacques — and which includes a brilliant original Bond theme written by Joss Stone and Dave Stewart (yes, of The Eurythmics), which is as good as any that have been done for film. The track, “I’ll Take It All”, will be featured in tomorrow’s Friday Music blog entry, but in the meantime, you can watch the video of the 2-minute title sequence from the video game below, which uses an edited version of the full theme:

I’ll also share with you with the promotional photo that Ms. Stone did for the game…. for reasons which are self-evident:

I have to admit that a Holy Grail of mine, writing-wise, has been the creation of an “American James Bond” — that’s always been something that I’ve pursued, but it has remained a tough nut to crack. Americans seem to like their spies as either ideologically-pure technocrats like Jack Ryan from Tom Clancy’s books, or macho extremist fantasies like Jack Bauer from 24 — neither of which really appeal to me. It’s hard to get the right level of Bondian sophistication in there — generally speaking, Americans don’t really “do” sophistication, or rather, I should say that sophistication is often viewed as suspect (the trappings of “elites”, etc.) — but I think that it’s important as a counter-balance to the required violence.

And, of course, the trick is to avoid making the whole thing just a fan-fiction pastiche.

So, yeah — still beating my brain against that goal, as I have done for years. Just haven’t had my “aha!” moment yet.