Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Mammoth Creation Project

Apparently, there is a group of Japanese scientists hellbent on reproducing a wooly mammoth (from sperm frozen in permafrost and an elephant's egg). The thing I find cool about this is that they already have permission to house their creation in a national forest in Siberia.

That's like the guy who wrote The AntiChrist and a Cup of Tea who surrenders his copyright in the event of the tribulation (beginning of the end of the world.)

It takes a certain amount of chutzpah. Not sure exactly what kind, but a certain amount of it, clearly.

If you want to read the article that inspired this ramble, check out: World Science: Bringing Back the Extinct

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Now turn to page 135, Everyone…

Second paragraph, near the end, begin reading: "My favorite mug, a blue and brown glazed, hand-thrown pottery one made for me by my friend Frank out in Oregon, had been left with so many other important things in Minneapolis."

Today, Frank sent replacements.

In his August 14th letter, he writes: “Dear Garnet: A little bird told me (actually I think it was a turkey vulture, but my ornithology is kinda suspect) that you were in need of replacement tea mugs, as you’d been reduced to discount bin specials from the Giga-Mart....”

“Geez, [Tate], give a fellow a little warning, will you? One minute I’m sailing along, navigating the plot convolutions of the contemporary vampire romance, the next I’m laughing so hard I nearly fall off of the bed. ‘My friend Frank out in Oregon....’ Does that count as placement?”

No, my dear Frank, but this does:

Check out the fantastic pottery work of Oregon potter Frank A. Gosar, as featured in Tall, Dark & Dead at his web site: Off-Center Ceramics

In my opinion, one of the best parts of being a writer is getting to slide bits of your real life into your novels. When I thought about all the things I’d leave behind if, like Garnet, I had to flee in the middle of the night, Frank’s pottery was one of the things I’d miss (his artwork, too! I have a couple of watercolors of his on my walls.) So, I decided to write him in. Apparently, there’s a term for this phenomenon: tuckerization. Frank found it on wikipedia: a "tuckerization" is the act of using a person's name in original fiction as an in-joke. I wouldn't say that I used Frank's name so much as an in-joke, but more as an homage to a good friend and a marvelous potter.

Now go buy some of his stuff (your friends NEED some for Christmas/Solstace, you know they do), or read about the life-sized ceramic cow he hand-built for his MFA terminal project. Or listen to his morning show on KLCC (89.7 fm/NPR), The Saturday Cafe.

More Thing I Never Needed to Know

A dear (yet evil) friend of mine and fellow fantasy writer Naomi Kritzer sent this news article from Appril 2006 which appeared in the Nikomis East Neighborhood Association's Back Yard newsletter to me. Shark Tales No More: Live Sharks Caught in Minnehaha Creek explains how Hurricane Katrina has sent bull sharks (those that can live in freshwater) further up the Mississippi than ever before -- including an 5 foot adult male found alive in Lake Pepin (in the winter!) and two pups (one of which is shown here) found Minnehaha Creek, a park Mason and I frequently swim in and hike around. The ending of the article is particularly unnerving to me, because I was totally one of those kids who was mocked for not wanting to swim in the Mississippi after "JAWS" came out (and I only saw the poster, as I was too young to see it in the theatre.) Now, all I can say is... ha! Sharks were probably swimming around in the Mississippi that whole damn time.

Edited at a later date: Oops. I guess I was April Fooled. Nevermind.