Yesterday there weren’t any entries. Not four, not three, not two, not even one measly little line of an entry. And after a very long string of uninterrupted daily posts.
Listen closely and you can hear the sound of me wrist-slapping myself with one of those 18″ rulers.
Ow. Ow, ow ow!
Sorry about that, especially if for some god-forsaken reason you’ve come to rely on a daily read from me. I must plead ‘exhaustion’ and the press of “other things going on”.
Mental and physical exhaustion from those ‘other things’.
Physical exhaustion from having refereed and managed a small, single day paintball tournament.
Which brings me to the subject of paintball and its cultural intersection with science fiction.
In case you somehow missed the social phenom of the past two decades, paintball is the ‘sport’ that uses those fancy, expensive compressed air guns to shoot gelatin, dye-filled marbles at other people in order to mark them.
I found this game about 18 months after it was first invented and quickly discovered that it was addictive, I loved to play and – surprise – I happened to be pretty darned good at it. (If gelatin-fearing aliens ever invade the Earth, have no fear, paint-slinging boy is here!)
I spent a quarter-century becoming heavily involved in just about everything paintball: my game-design background put me in good stead as I introduced a set of rules for competition play that actually made sense (and are still in wide, slightly modified use today all over the world), began my non-fiction writing career, edited a magazine and traveled the world playing, designed product, coached and managed teams, etc. etc.
Picked up a bunch of kudos too, like Top 100 Player of All Time (wish I had a plaque for that one), Top 50 Team of All Time, and ‘that &*%$!*%! bastard’.
Now I play the part of ‘retired professional player’, and do some weekend work helping to manage a local field and quasi-coaching the local team.
Which is where I was yesterday, doing a little three-player tournament. I take great pride in delivering a fairly judged event and making sure that everyone from winners to bottom-dwelling losers have a good time (which can be difficult when the bottom-feeders have PAID for the privilege of getting shot at all day and go home with the added bonus of a kick in the kiester).
The game itself is, unfortunately, vulnerable to players who want to cheat, which raises the temperature for everyone even before the first game is played at an event. Back in the bad old days it didn’t bother us so much – we’d just have a brawl in the woods with the other team and count up black eyes. But these days we’ve got teens and pre-teens competing under the watchful eye of parents, so that manly solution is not available anymore.
Here’s a pic of the team I’m now coaching playing in a five-player event from a few weeks ago, just to give you some idea of what it looks like:
(That’s the KnIghtmare Saints deployed to their bunkers right after the start of the game. They finished 4th at this event.)
I only go into the background and circumstances here to lead into the fact that over the past couple of years I’ve made an interesting observation. Science Fiction and Fantasy enjoy a unique relationship with paintball. It’s a one-way relationship.
Lot’s of paintballers are science fiction and fantasy fan, while very few fans are paintballers. I’m not entirely sure why, but I think it has a lot to do with the generally vicarious nature of being a fan, while most paintballing fans seem to have gotten the bug after they’ve already established their participatory nature.
I find it an interesting relationship, one that I’ve been exploring for a while now and intend to keep on looking at. There just might be some ‘dirt’ worth mining there.
I see from File 770 that Ellison is suing Paramount (again?). They used his ST:TOS script (City of the Edge of Forever) tobase a novelization on and Harlan hasn’t gotten any royalties. If I were Paramount, I’d pay the man now – he has a habit of winning these kinds of things.
It actually mystifies me that anyone would fight after a quick background check would tell them that the claim is a valid one. I’ll jump the gun and say – congrats to Harlan for another win in the fight to protect writer’s interests.
IO9. OH IO9.
I’ve been pretty critical of the site here (not that most of my friends don’t disagree that it well earns the sobriquet of ‘fluff’). Perhaps that criticism is responsible for my lack of coverage over there: they used to feature some of my entries, but haven’t done so SINCE I’ve been vocal on that score.
I’m well aware that in the PR game you’re not supposed to bite the hand that feeds you. Right. But.
I’d also be terribly flattered if it turned out that IO9 thought they were accomplishing something by ignoring me.
I can not, however, ignore them, especially considering this truly non-sensical and ill-considered piece that appeared today about ‘Sir Iguana’, the artist who sells sketches on Ebay.
Are the lives of the editors at IO9 so absolutely bereft of meaning that they must verify their self-justification by putting Ebay artists down? I mean, in every sense of the cliche – ‘come on!’. How frickin long did it take to come up with that little piece? Are they actually mining Ebay for things that offend their sensibilities?
These guys publish 20, 30, 40 stories all day long and THIS is the best they can come up with?
Before that story ran my only real criticism of the site was that they were going for fluff and tended to embrace the SKIFFY side of things (as in – more lit, less media); that, and their ‘humor’ never escaped the level of ‘cutesy’. IO9=Skiffy Fluff. Big deal and who cares?
NOW, I’ve got reason to dislike them – and a good one. IOniners – if you’re going to play the critic game, how’s about picking on people your own size? Right now, all of you guys are looking like a six year old nascent bully burning ants with a magnifying glass. And next comes torturing kittens and puppies. IO9 is psychopathic, truly and horrifyingly mentally ill.