Volume 1 * Number 13 * February 2005
PUBLISHED WEEKLY FOR THE MEMBERS OF THE WOTMANIA COMMUNITY
CNRedDragon & Obsidian Ashaman - Lords of Awesomeness
New Management
When you get right down to it, we've just had enough.

You folks see Nate walking around the site, all happy and smiling and throwing points around left and right and oh, yeah, he looks like a great guy. You know why he's happy? He's got a sweatshop's worth of writers crammed into a ten-foot by ten-foot basement, that's why. So we all rebelled and took control of the situation.

Nate's out of the picture. Gone. Finished. His cruel reign of vicious intimidation, enforced with the steel cane he liked to call "Old Reliable", is no more. We're not walking around the office calling each other comrade or anything, we're just making sure that his sort of tyranny can't ever rule our lives again. Nate was so unwilling to give up his power that he fought to the last; when he saw that we were going to win, he rigged nebhead.com to detonate in an attempt to silence our voices. Well, guess what, sucka? You can't shut us up.

Now, I bet you're wondering what all this means to you. By and large, you can just enjoy the knowledge that all of us writers have been released from our horrible captivity and get to see the sun again. I mean, the sun's not critical-I'm partial to not being beaten for asking if we can eat today-but it's a nice touch. Granted, it burns our fishbelly-pale skin and hurts our eyes, but it's the thought that counts. Of course, we're benevolent enough that we've also got something tangible for you guys and gals, something you can look back on to mark this grand occasion. The writers took a vote and decided that the two of us, OA and CN, should be the leaders of this new writeocracy, so we're going to be distributing the goodies. Each of us has a separate list of things we want to do in order to enrich your lives, so we'll do this in two sections.

OA: From now on, there'll be a little more naked CN and a little less clothed CN. Also, after Nate murdered nebhead.com, everybody's avatar was lost, so I went ahead and hand-crafted replacements. My memory's spotty after the months of backbreaking labor and mind-numbing pain, but I did the best I could from what we were able to salvage from the wreckage.

CN: I'm working on a law for the site that would ban OA from touching me while I sleep. You have no idea how many times I've woken up to find him crouched over me stroking my hair. I think a concrete barrier to him touching me would really be a good thing for everybody in the long run. I'm also thinking about building a concrete barrier. Other things you can expect from this new Weekly regime include more of us, fewer savage beatings, more wild, unencumbered flailing about to the heavy rhythm of brain-crushing rock and roll, and, most importantly, funny mustaches for all. Life isn't worth living if you can't have a funny mustache.

So, that's the story of the new Weekly. We hope you'll stick with us as we embark on this glorious new era of freedom from choke-chains and electric shocks when we laugh. Also, CN's going to table-dance for us. Damn it, quit typing that! I'm not table-dancing. Yes he is. No, I'm not! He totally is. Shut up! I hate you! I hate you!

Hosted by Nebhead.com
Train Wreck

Mapthis

Ive missed the last two weeklys because I wasunavailable.

Unavailable (adj.)

1. Not available, accessible, or at hand.

2. Unable to write an article for a free, online community-related newsletter, because one spent two weeks (12-16 hours per day) sitting in the Aiken County (South Carolina) Emergency Operations Center.

Why would I do something like that?  Easy: its part of my job.  I work for the GIS Mapping Division of Aiken County.  We map property lines for tax purposes; keep up-to-date with road changes/additions; update zoning, flood, fire district, and city boundary maps; a whole bunch of other stuff.  The GIS part of our department title stands for Geographic Information System.  In short, GIS involves a digital map made up of points, lines, and areas.  Each of these features is linked back to a database record.  It is quite useful for environmental and urban planning.  For a further, more in-depth description, check out Wikipedia.

I do a little bit of everything there: mapping; database maintenance; programming and customization; and internet-delivered mapping services.  There is one other part of my long job description as wellmust be available to work necessary hours during an emergency situation.  I didnt think Id ever have to fulfill this one.

I woke up around 6:15 am on Thursday, January 6, and turned on the TV.  Hearing the sound before the picture came on, I heard the news person talking about school and road closings.  Down here (or up here, depending on where you are reading this), a half an inch of snow is paralyzing and sends people into a state of panic (Read that as: MUST GET TO STORE FOR BREAD!!).  There wasnt snow or ice in the forecast the night before, so I was a little confused.  Then, when the picture materialized, they went to a location shot of a reporter standing outside in the dark, speaking with a police officer.

There was a train derailment in a small town nearby called Graniteville, and there was some sort of chemical leak.  About that time, my boss called me and said I should come in early because the emergency services might need some maps.

Holy moley, did they end up needing some maps.

As the morning went on, the situation just got worse and worse.  The chemical turned out to be chlorine from a ruptured tanker car.  It got a nice hole in it and spewed liquid and gaseous chlorine.  The derailment was most likely caused by a track switch that was left on, sending the train (consisting of three locomotives, and quite a few cars) off onto a siding that led to a factory.  It collided with a parked train head on.

All right in the center of this town.

There was also a load of sodium hydroxide that spilled all over, as well as quite a bit of creosote.  All fun things to have laying around.

Luckily, this all happened at 2:45 am.  There were two schools within half a mile of the crash site, as well as many businesses and three mills.  It could have been so much worse.  The leaking chlorine formed a green cloud that hung over the ground, and flowed down slope since it is heavier than air.  The Emergency Operations Center was activated shortly after the crash, and people were told to stay in their homes.  Many were immediately evacuated though, and more left the area on their own.  Decontamination sites were set up, and a few hundred people were treated, most being sent on to the hospital for further treatment.

Emergency services personnel were called in from all over the state, as well as the FBI, NTSB, and Homeland Security.  We had the task of producing area maps for all these out-of-town people who werent familiar with the area.  By the afternoon, the order went out to evacuate everyone within a two mile radius, those few (12) who stayed behind giving the authorities next-of-kin information.  We made maps that divided up the two mile area into 500x500 grids, which were then used to make 13 evacuation areas.  We printed about 150 of those so that the evacuation teams could have them out in the field.

Recovery teams also went in to look for bodies.  Nine people died in all, including the conductor of the train.  The train was traveling over 40 mph, and he survived itthe chlorine is what killed him.  Six people from the nearby mills were killed by the chlorine when they went outside after the accident; one truck driver asleep in his truck died from exposure to the chlorine; and one resident was overcome by the cloud when he ran out his front door.

The next few days were spent making maps showing aerial photography, plume analysis, area structures, and address information.  By Saturday afternoon, when they realized this was a big leak and wasnt going away any time soon, arrangements were made for owners to bring their keys to the local animal control, and they would then go out and retrieve family pets left behind.  This means they needed a bunch of maps for that too.  In two days, over 250 pets were retrieved, and only 6 were found dead.  There were many chemical burns to the mouth and eyes of the pets, but only a few had really severe damage.

Gradually, they started letting people back to their homes, but only people on the edge of the evacuation zone.  Each day brought a few new areas where people could go home, and each day they needed new maps showing this.  Road blocks were all over the place, and constantly needed to be moved as areas were reopened.  We had to produce maps for all the officers manning these road blocks, as well as the people in charge.

Finally, after 17 days, the last people were allowed back into their homes, and we didnt have to worry about manning the mapping desk at the EOC.  It was a 24-hour operation there, and you never knew when they were going to need more maps.

Final totals:

-2,300 feet of paper used

-4 plotter ink cartridges

-4 laserjet toner cartridges

-approximately 1,100 maps printed

-8 days worth of overtime earned

For articles about the crash by people who actually know how to write, try here. (Go here to get a username and password to read the articles.)

RealLife Correspondent

Gavroche
As the month concludes
I give you special haikus
In place of my trash

Nate is gone from here
Overthrown, his tyranny
Finally vanquished

The Superbowl comes
Eagles or Patriots now
Who shall win the field?

Aid flows to Asia
Where a tsunami did strike
Tragedy and death

Protest and parties
Bush to the White House returned
For a second term

Rice and Gonzales
Have faced questioning at length
Will be confirmed soon

And now here to close
A deep thought from Jack Handey
That you will enjoy:

"If when you die you get a choice between pie heaven and regular heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick but if not mmmboy!"

Wil Ohmsford, Hero

Wil Ohmsford

It is with heavy hearts that we report our dear friend and co-worker, Wil Ohmsford, fell in our struggle for freedom.  While the tyrant Nathen was surrounded and outnumbered, he was no weak foe.  During the third hour of the assault, Wil single-handedly suppressed Nate while others carried the wounded out of danger.  He fought with the courage and skill of ten men, and will not be forgotten.

Thank you, Wil.  Thank you.

Pajamas, Reece's Peanut Butter Cups, and Nibbles the Possessed and Demonic Horse

CrazedWeasel
People assume things often. Many people live one day to the next only thinking in a series of baseless assumptions, such as the assumption that this day will be in any way similar to the one previous. People assume some really, really stupid things on occasion. I think this may be a consequence of people being, in general, really stupid. In fact, there's a little idiot that goes "When you assume, you make an 'ass' out of 'U' and 'me'" See, it's a play on words. Clever? Not anymore. That clich is so overused, that at least half the people who say it don't even realize what the play on words it. I think that anyone who actually says it without a trace of irony is themselves, an ass. But I shall digress.

Assumptions can lead to minor snafus (I assumed you had brought your keys!) to debacles of disastrous proportions (I assumed that he had WMDs!) Assumption can also lead to some aggravating bouts of unwise gift-giving. I am currently wearing the result of some lazy assumptioning.

Y'see, at Christmastime, I have an aunt and uncle. And they mean well, they do. But they leap to assumptions with all the calm calculation of a drunk lemming. What I'm wearing, is a pair of pajama-pants. The flannel kind. They are comfortable, and I wear pajama-pants like them quite often. And that's what this aunt and uncle gave me. See, that was a good idea. But I'm really quite fine with some plain plaid pattern, or something. I don't care about logos or designs or whatever. They are freaking pajamas. But this pair is emblazoned with skull-and-crossbones and flames and a logo that proudly exclaims "Chopper Joe's"

Yeah. Meh. They chose these over a more useful gift (like something I asked for) because they say "Chopper Joe's". They even got a matching T-Shirt. (What any 19-year-old guy wants is a T-Shirt that matches his damn jammies) Why. My name is Joe. And they say Joe on them. Therefore- I must absolutely love them. According to them, they saw this apparel and had to get it. Er, sure. That's all right. Heart's in the right place, but I already have enough pajama-pants. That's why I asked for actual pants. I need some regular pants. But of course, these have my name on them! So I must be delighted to gleeful titters by them. They're comfortable enough. The t-shirt may end up being worn, maybe not. But they say "Joe" on them!!!

Not to be an ungrateful wretch of course. I am wearing them, right? But it will be a matter of time before someone sees me wearing them. I can just see someone asking if I'm into motorcycles. No, I'll reply. They'll inquire if "Chopper Joe's" is a garage near where I live. Again, no. Then why the pajamas? Because they have my name on them. And wow, that doesn't sound cool at all, and certainly not coming from some dork with skull-and-crossbone pajamas. Oh well. They are comfy.

It's like Reece's Peanut Butter Cups. Who doesn't like Reece's Peanut Butter Cups?

Well, for starters, me. I don't like chocolate and peanut butter combined, except in certain circumstances. And yet I always seem to end up with them. Unless I've shared my extreme dislike for RPBCs with them, that seems to be the default candy. Everybody likes 'em! Right? Right? Right? Well, er, no, but thanks anyway. So now I have to put someone who was just being nice into the awkward position of having given a terrible gift. Nothing kills the happiness one gets from giving candy to someone like hearing, "Er, I don't like these. But thanks, really, I mean it! Just I don't... y'know. I, um..."

But I'm just whining about crap that really doesn't bug me that much. I enjoy doing that, complaining endlessly about minor stuff I don't really give a rat fart in a windstorm about. Better than complaining about something important to someone. If you are reading this auntie or uncley: I'm just trying to work up a passable article for my new lords, masters and editors. Please don't take this too seriously. But this all leads up to the cavalier of unwise assumptive gifts: Nibbles the Demonic Horse.

My little sister likes horses. She takes riding lessons, and always has a wall calendar featuring fetlocked photography and pics of paints and whatnot. She thinks horses are beautiful animals, and just plain cool. I don't care to disagree-- horses are neat. I'm no horse nut, but neither is she. But she does like them. And so in the relationship between her and the aunt and uncle she rarely gets to talk to, exaggeration is inevitable. I am convinced that my aunt and uncle imagine my sister as some horse obsessed wack-job that thinks of nothing else. So, when Christmas shopping for her, they assume that anything horse related is perfect.

A few years ago, they got her a sciencey- Spencer's Gifts type thing. You know the Visible man? That's the transparent mannequin in biology class where you can his skeletal structure and internal organs. Educational, sure. Well, they make a version that is a skeletal horse and sell it as a model. Now, my sister could have learned some stuff from it, I guess. But imagine an eleven-year old girl's bedroom. Now turn the lights off, and place a large glow-in-the-dark horse skeleton leering fixedly from a desk. Umm, can you say creepy?

That was years ago. This years gift topped that. It was a picture frame, carved (well, molded since it was plastic) to look like a horse. The most deranged, maniacal and unholy horse that has ever been made into a graven icon. It had these crazy yellow eyes that were bugging out of its little horsey skull like someone was throttling it. Its horsey teeth protruded as sickening amount, perhaps all the better to devour its young with. It was a very creepy looking thing, and my sis was supposed to put some sort of horse photo in the window in Nibbles's belly? No-oh thank you, Wil-burrr. That little picture frame was from someone's sick equestrian nightmare.

But she likes horses, so she must love that frame.

And so Nibbles the Possessed and Demonic Horse was regifted weeks later. As a White Elephant gift, naturally. I don't think my sister hates anyone enough to actually offer Nibbles as a real gift.

*Shudder*

Damn, that thing was creepy.

Mr Everything

Edgecutioner
By now many of you are likely aware that our editor Nate has been well and fully mutinied. Yes, a full takeover is underway and none too soon I say! The way he used to whip us with bamboo sticks to finish our articles was horrifically barbaric, not to mention the measly salaries we had to feed our wives and children on. Here's to the dawn of a new era of the Weekly! Even though it'd still be better if your Mr. Everything were in charge. This paper needs strippers, all we have is Wil when he gets a little too much caffeine. Applications are being accepted! But yes, we are now under the capable control of OA and CN, the two rockingest abbreviations I've ever had the privilege of mutinying with. What did we do with Nate though, you ask? Good question. Hey Weasel didn't you have him last?

Well regardless of which dungeon the poor guy is stashed in at the moment, such a momentous occasion means its time for change! And lots of it, as it were. Now's a time for us to all stand up and say, "This week we're doing things differently!". Except me of course. I'm just delivering the same old same old. Which makes it occur to me that maybe I should ask you guys for help. You read this bloody thing, and you should all have some say. So what would you, my adoring public, want to see from this column? less of me talking? More OF Board stuff? More news and less community things? Anything format wise you'd like. Lay it on me, I live to serve the Republic of CNOA.

Eh, alright then, on with the show, as it were.

Well the big man Robert Jordan sure seems open to interviews of late. Seems like everyone is asking him their inane empty questions and getting back like answers in turn. But now, that inane question could be yours! Dragonmount is accepting question applications to be asked in a direct one on one interview with the man himself. These are the interviews that tend to break open actual information, so any enlightened questions you guys have that might elicit some kind of decent answer would be greatly appreciated, I think we can all agree with that.

Speaking of interviewing the jolly old fellow, yet another completely useless question was asked and answered this week via Tor. It's as if his publisher is purposely only feeding him questions with no chance on infringing upon what will happen in the next book so long before it comes out. And for the record, that was exactly as sarcastic as you think it should be. All the same though, its a cute question, so what the heck.

Edge's Spotlight on Writer's For The Week!
This week we've got a bangin' naturific poem from themagictrolloc called Winter Phantasia! Dig it folks, its quite beautiful.

Well it finally happened. Halo 2 has been out since November and finally the first clan (or group of gamers playing together over an internet connection against other groups) has reached the maximum level of 50! These guys deserve some incredible applause for winning over 1,000 battles on their way to being the reigning kings of Halo. So much for girlfriends, sleep, food, and hygiene, eh guys?

Right now we gamers are feeling rather ragingly indignant about EA buying up the rights to the NFL for all future games. Let me break that down so you understand why we're upset. From now on there will be no football related video games that have anything to do with the NFL, that are not made by EA studios. This may not seem like a big deal in and of itself, but having a monopoly on the market is evil, and generally bad for us consumers. Feel our righteous wrath!

Man, Larry really outdid himself this week over on the OF Board. He has cranked out the gargantuan mass that is an interview with Gary Wassner. The author of the forthcoming Gemquest series is a philosopher, an incredibly intelligent man, and one hell of a good interview. You've gotta read this one guys, I think this was the first time I've ever been sold on a book series just by reading about the author's point of view on things, it's quite incredible!

SEX! SEX! SEX!

I managed to accidentally skip over this one last week so I'll go ahead and alert you guys to it now. G.R.R Martin finally released some bloody information regarding his new book A Feast For Crows. Sounds like it gonna be a whopper too.

And, rounding out the news is Draggie whooping us all in the stock market. What else is new?

Alright that's the news for this week. Thanks for reading it, and this is your Mr. Everything reminding you, if it ain't mutiny, why bother?

Interview

Egwene Dreamwalker
Well folks, it's my fourth interview here at the Wotmania Weekly, and must admit that this week has been a bit of a test. I simply left things to the last minute, and then my first last minute interview seems to have fallen through. Eep! Fortunately, Evad Bel-Burg has been gracious enough to submit to the interview. I'm very happy he is willing to do so. Now, on to the interview!

Egwene Dreamwalker
So, Evad Bel-Burg, tell the readers a little bit about yourself.

Evad Bel-Burg
Okay. My name is Dave, and I'm from South Africa. I'm obviously a guy and I'm 23.

Egwene Dreamwalker
Nice to meet you Dave. Thanks for letting me interview on such short notice. Why don't you tell the Wotmania Weekly readers a little about what brought you to Wotmania, and what keeps you here?

Evad Bel-Burg
Well, a friend of mine asked me what my wotmania name was, and I didn't have a clue what he was talking about. So I searched for the site, registered, and loved it ever since. I'm a huge WoT fan.

Egwene Dreamwalker
And you still openly admit that?

Evad Bel-Burg
Yeah, I'm an Evil Bed Bug, I'm not scared of anything!

Egwene Dreamwalker
Bravery at it's finest. So, where did you get the user name Evad Bel-Burg from then?

Evad Bel-Burg
Well, Evad is my name backwards, I got Bel- from Be'lal (make it sound exotic) and Burg is from my surname, which is De Burgh.
Doesn't really mean anything.

Egwene Dreamwalker
Well, that looks all kinds of creative. A nice spin on a WoT name. Why don't you tell the readers about your hobbies, interests, etc.?

Evad Bel-Burg
Well, I write short stories and poems, and songs, when I get the time. I also am a big Star Wars fan, and collect as much as I can get with regard to that. I love clubbing and meeting new people, and that's about that. Oh, and I love nature and animals, and just relaxing with friends and talking [CENSORED].

Egwene Dreamwalker
So what kind of Star Wars stuff do you collect?

Evad Bel-Burg
Well, I can only really get hold of the novels (I've now got around 75 books) but I've got some of the role-playing card games and the DVDs.

Egwene Dreamwalker
Cool! I'll know who to borrow a book from if I'm ever in South Africa. So what would you like to tell everyone who reads the Wotmania Weekly?

Evad Bel-Burg
About myself?

Egwene Dreamwalker
Who else? Is there anything you think people should know when they talk to you or MB or what not?

Evad Bel-Burg
Well, I'm a dreamer. I like writing poetry, I sing out loud all the time (makes people think I'm nuts though), and I always try to smile, whatever the day brings. I'm also a pretty intense person, a very sensitive guy who tends to trust people implicitly.

Egwene Dreamwalker
Words of wisdom, but do you think it wise to trust, or do you feel it's gotten your hurt?

Evad Bel-Burg
It's definitely gotten me hurt, big time, and very recently, but without trust, love is dead, and I'm always searching for love. Sounds soppy, doesn't it?

Egwene Dreamwalker
It sounds as if you are a real person. That's not soppy.

Evad Bel-Burg
It's just not a, how can I put it?, a thing that guys usually think about a lot, love, being hurt, being sensitive.

Egwene Dreamwalker
I think they probably do... more so than you think. They just like to hide it in machoism. Don't worry. Is there anything else you want to say to our multitudes of readers?

Evad Bel-Burg
Not that I can think of now. That was quite cool, the first time I've been interviewed. It was great, thank you Melissa

Egwene Dreamwalker
Hey! No problem. Thank you for helping me out.

Evad Bel-Burg
It's a pleasure.

Egwene Dreamwalker
Well, readers, that concludes this interview. Who knows what's next? Maybe I'll be interviewing YOU!

If you are interested in being interviewed for the Wotmania Weekly, or if you have suggestions for this column, please feel free to NB Egwene Dreamwalker anytime. I accept bribes.

Fortune Teller

Auralyra
Aries March 21 to April 18
Given the choice between the moods 'joyfully happy' and 'deeply morose', choose the latter for reasons that will become completely apparent around the 28th when Mars crosses the Neptunium equinox with a suave wink. A street trader will look at you in a funny way on Tuesday. Construe this in any way that pleases you.

Taurus April 19 to May 19
A truffle sniffing French pig will make itself known to you this week, communicating through a particularly obnoxious smear of mud on the carpet. Jupiter's conjunction to the left of centre will present itself to you as a humorous hat and coat.

Gemini May 20 to June 20
Check that your electricity company hasnt wired a street light up to your house supply- fiddle with the power switch and watch to see if any street lights flick on or off, remembering that they might have wired up a street light not in immediate sight of your house.

Cancer June 21 to July 21
Innuendo in the wotmania chatroom, in all of its forms, should be avoided, daily, until after the clock strikes twelve.

Leo July 22 to August 21
Flinging things violently into lampshades is well starred this week. Whilst out jogging on the 31st, both Saturn and Pluto will seek ways to trip you - ensure you have well padded knees throughout any movement based exertions.

Virgo August 22 to September 21
This month you will be entertained by a 'murder most foul' classic crime mystery. This will take the form of, either, an Agatha Christie style murder mystery weekend, an addictive American television drama, or a dead body found under your stairs.

Libra September 22 to October 22
Invisible microscopic freshwater shrimp are set to make your bath time leisure activities problematic after the 1stof February; this is due to a diurnal distraction high up in the Venetian ozone. This is not a danger, as long as you ensure all bath towels are burnt immediately between the 8th and 12th of the month.

Scorpio October 23 to November 20
You have worked hard to rebuild your shattered self esteem - now may be the time to assert yourself carefully with a kooky messageboard response. Your favoured coloured sarong, this week, will be orange.

Sagittarius November 21 to December 20
Patience towards a small fish will reap dividends this month in cute ways involving bubbles. Mercury will not look favourably upon any breakfasts involving soy milk.

Capricorn December 21 to January 19
A rare Plutonian undercurrent signifies a creative month for all Capricornians who enjoy literature, music and violent community messageboard based religious discussions. Green shoes should be avoided unless wearing green skirts or trousers.

Aquarius January 20 to February 18
This week your lucky animals are a wombat and a donkey, as long as they are seen separately. If seen together, jump into some bushes or run away. Rum bottles and smoked fish are this week's surprising bed fellows.

Pisces February 19 to March 20
An emotive sonnet-style ballad you wrote, but were embarrassed to show anyone, will become public on a daytime chat show on the 2nd. A person wearing yellow socks will provide comfort in a moment of watery anxiety.

Captain Comic

Obsidian Ashaman
Movie Critic

CNRedDragon
Movies I Love: Wilder Napalm (1993)
Synopsis: Wilder Foudroyant isn't happy when his estranged brother Wallace rolls into town, especially since Wallace still has designs on Wilder's wife Vida. Matters are somewhat complicated by the fact that both Wilder and Wallace are pyrokinetic.

Starring: Arliss Howard, Debra Winger, Dennis Quaid

I've told you about my favorite action movie, and I've told you about my favorite drama, and now I want to tell you about my favorite comedy.

Wilder Napalm isn't easy to find. I caught bits and pieces of it on Showtime not long after it came out, and after that I spent years searching for a copy of it to buy before I finally found one in a secondhand-book store that was going out of business. I snapped it up on the spot and watched it that night, and I've watched it at least a dozen times since then. I've lost track, honestly. It could be twenty or more.

This is a funny movie. This is a very, very funny movie. It's about Wilder Foudroyant, his nymphomaniac, pyrophile wife Vida who becomes sexually aroused by the color green, and his jealous brother Wallace who wants Vida for himself. Wilder and Wallace are pyrokinetic; Wallace considers it a gift and wants to use it for fame and fortune, but Wilder is convinced that being able to start fires with your brain makes you a freak and barely uses his talent at all. A really good comedy is equal parts writing and acting, and in Wilder Napalm, both of those parts are excellent. Let's talk about the actors first: Arliss Howard, who plays Wilder, is perfect for the part. Wilder plays the straight man through a majority of the movie, and when he loses it, he really loses it; Arliss Howard does both as well as you could possibly ask. Debra Winger is great as Vida, who's been under house arrest for the past year for accidentally burning down a doctor's office. She balances love for Wilder, attraction to Wallace, and anger at both of them, and it all comes right off the screen at you. Randy Quaid, as Wallace, might be the best of the three, though. Wallace's character is built as an overreacting, over-the-top guy who goes through life trying, sometimes consciously and sometimes without even realizing it, to get rid of the limits Wilder's placed on him over the course of their lives. A lot of Randy Quaid's roles call for a more reserved approach, but he really excels as Wallace. He's sarcastic, he's angry, he's hopelessly smitten with Vida, and he's hilarious.

Funny writing? The movie's got it. Some of the jokes are slapstickish, some of them are hilarious conversations, some of them are brilliant one-liners. Everything from Wallace's use of a plate of breakfast to illustrate his feelings to the antics of the carnies to Wilder's reaction upon hearing Wallace's plans to go public is golden. I don't want to actually write any down here; it'd run the risk of spoiling the storyline. Suffice it to say that this really is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen, and my favorite comedy. I mean, come on; it's got clowns, pyrokinetics, fires, sex fires, a horrid little rat-dog, a snake-lady, carnies, Randy Quaid, singing firemen, stuff blowing up, stuff burning down, creepy little kids, classical music, fireworks, minigolf, clichd moves, clichd moves that work, awesome fights, "a built-in wad for the female demographic", and so much more. As a very special person once said, you can't say no to singing firemen. It might take you a long time, but you need to track down a copy of this movie and watch it. You'll be very glad you did.

Wilder Napalm Trailer

The Bookmark

Dylanfanatic
Broke her heart, lost my own
Adios, Mi corazon

Spanish is the loving tongue
Soft as music, light as spray
'Twas a girl I learned it from
Living down Sonora way
I don't look much like a lover
Still I say her loved words over
Mostly when I'm all alone!
Mi amor, Mi corazon

Haven't seen her since that night
I can't cross the line you know
Wanted for a gambling fight
Like as not it's better so
Still I've always kind of missed her
Since that last sad night I kissed her
Broke her heart, lost my own
Adios, Mi corazon

Broke her heart, lost my own
Adios, Mi corazon
Adios, Mi corazon
- "Spanish is the Loving Tongue," sung by Bob Dylan

When searching through my books today looking for something that might be interesting for fellow readers here, I kept finding myself thinking, "Nah, they wouldn't be interested in this story because it isn't written in English." After a half-dozen times, however, I approached this from a different vantage point. What if readers here might be interested in stories that touch upon the interstices of today's emerging global culture, stories that focus on the changes and alienations, the hopes and fears of a world that has come to be dominated more and more by American socio-cultural value systems? It is with this in mind that I thought I would briefly mention a few books that have recently been written by young Latin American writers.

Xavier Velasco is a rock critic and sometime novelist hailing from Mexico . In 2003, he won the Premio Alfaguara for Diablo Guardin, a story involving a girl who has stolen over a hundred thousand dollars from her parents in Mexico before fleeing to a life in the US that later involves prostitution and crack dealing, her satanic guardian (who may or may not be Satan himself, depending on how you read his words and role), and others caught in the web of her sordid life. It is a tale rife with Americanisms, of a Spanish that reflects not the past, but a possible new future, a future that is as much gringo as anything else.

Another Mexican writer worth reading is Ignacio Padilla. Although I had earlier reviewed the Spanish-language edition of Shadow Without a Name, it certainly is well worth the time to read this excellent short (around 200 pages) book revolving around Identity and the destruction of the two World Wars.

In Chile, the McOndoist movement has been in full swing for almost ten years. This informal group has been "led" by Alberto Fuguet, like Velasco a pop culture critic as much as a novelist. I have read and reviewed Mala Onda (Bad Vibes) and The Movies of My Life before, but it bears minding that in these tales, Fuguet examines the subtle and sometimes insidious ways that American pop cultural values have seeped into what once was a traditionalist Chilean culture. From the movies and music of the last 30 years to the slang that is heavily influenced by Hollywood , there is indeed something happening there, what it is ain't exactly clear...

These are just three of many other younger-generation authors that I could review, authors such as Laura Restrepo, Eduardo Gonzlez Viaa (who has an English translation, American Dreams, coming out in March), Jorge Volpi, and Edmundo Paz Soldan. If you ever are tired of reading the same old lit-lite stuff being promoted by American firms, give these authors a shot, as many of them are now being translated into English.

And now, the always short shortform:

* Since the publication of A Storm of Swords, Terry Goodkind has managed to crap out three more books than has George R.R. Martin. And the lemurs are getting ever more rabid upon learning of this.

* Neil Gaiman just released a $90 illustrated graphic story-poem called Melinda. Feel free to start foaming at the mouth now.

* Speaking of Gaiman, he is on the cover of the upcoming issue of Locus, due out January 27th.

* Bill Sheehan of the Washington Post reviews Gene Wolfe's The Wizard.

* Scott Bakker's The Darkness That Comes Before has been translated into French. Check out the god-awful artwork here.

And that does it for another edition of the Bookmark. Just remember, you can't spell "fart" without "art," so feel proud to appreciate both the fine and the kitsch in your life. Oh, and word to your mother, peace out. Yeah.

Ask Amy

Amyrlin

Dear Amy, I need your help! My boyfriend won't let me have a girlfriend and I just don't think it's fair! I mean, it's not like I won't share.. but he doesn't see it that way! What can I do to make him see things my way?

Sincerely

Needy in Nebraska

Dear Needy,

My deepest condolences go out to you! This is just further proof that guys are really, and truly all talk. I can't count the times I've heard "lets have a threesome!", or "why don't you get yourself a girlfriend honey", or my all-time favorite, "but honey, they are twins and they are WILLING!". I say again: ALL TALK.

Get a girlfriend. GET ONE, and just see how long his pants keep telling his brain no. I guarantee it wont be for long. Then, right when you have him thinking his cake is in the bedroom and that he can eat it too, dump him. Dump him for that hot little number you picked up. She wont give half the grief that he will, in the end.

Happy Hunting, and Thanks for ASKING AMY.

 

disclaimer ASK AMY is for entertainment purposes only. All Ask Amy Entertainment is condoned, no encouraged by supporters of GLTB equality. *chants* Were HERE! Were GLTB! Get Used To It!!!
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