Acting Footnote

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The irony of my little acting job, of course, is that I’m following in the footsteps of both my daughters. And for that matter, in the footsteps of my 7-year-old nephew Garrett, who recently appeared in a movie on the Hallmark Channel. And now I find (see comments, next entry down) that one of my fellow actors in the cast list is a friend and acting-buddy of my daughters. Do you suppose we’ll be discovered by a Hollywood agent?

They’rrrrre Gonna Put Me in the Moviiiies!

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They’re gonna make a big star out of me . . . All I have to do is act naturally. Which is true. Sort of.

The owner of the Regent Theater, where Bye Bye Birdie was performed, approached me after a rehearsal and asked me if I’d be interested in doing a short acting stint. Very short. It seems I look just right for a character in a small indie film he’s producing, based on a play he wrote (and which was performed at the theater) about teenage homelessness. I said, “Umm…” and he told me more. It would only take one day, because the character is just in one scene, and only has a few lines. “Well…” I said, and before I knew it I was in the cast. I joined in on the first read-through with the rest of the volunteer cast (which includes a couple of professional actors, some acting students, and some people like me). So now I’m trying to let the character percolate into my brain.

I’m playing Pops. A street bum.

I’ll definitely keep you posted on the progress of my career in film.

Summer Stuff

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We’ve been entertaining a young nephew and niece in our house for the last few days, which has been great fun, a real change of pace, and helps explain why I feel so tired at the end of the day. Actually got to the beach in Gloucester—first real summer thing I’ve done this year (unless you call home repair and mowing the lawn summer stuff)—and let me tell you, that water was cold! The beach was beautiful, though, and it always restores me to see the ocean. Today we took the Boston harbor boat out to George’s Island and traipsed around the old fort. It was fun. And kudos to my daughters, who were a great help in keeping up with their two very energetic young cousins.

Tenth Planet?

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The discovery of the new planet 2003 UB313 is one of the cooler pieces of science news so far this year. Assuming, of course, that it’s eventually called a “planet” and not given some more boring designation. I’m with the leader of the discovery team, Mike Brown, who says that the word “planet” has a cultural meaning as well as a scientific meaning. The public hasn’t taken kindly to suggestions that Pluto be downgraded from a planet to a Kuiper Belt Object; I don’t either. I suppose I’m just being sentimental.

I also like the fact that the new planet is 45 degrees out of the plane of the ecliptic. I say it’s about time we had a planet that wasn’t so conformist and hide-bound. (And now that we know there are planets outside the plane of the nine, I’m betting we’re going to find a bunch more of them.)

This is almost as good as the discovery earlier this year of a planet orbiting a three-star system. As an SF writer, I always found it annoying to hear scientific experts say, “Forget it—there won’t be planets around binary and trinary star systems (except maybe Tatooine)—the orbits will be too unstable.” To which my answer, under my breath was, “Oh yeah? We’ll see.” Which is more or less my answer to the argument that we’ll never find a practical means of interstellar travel. I consider it a challenge when I’m told something’s impossible.

Click to read a very interesting article about the crazy business of naming solar system objects.

Galactica, Bye Bye Birdie, and Joint Compound

Between being busy at play performances, and being up to my elbows in joint compound at home, I think I forgot to mention that Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries has been approved by the studio—so I think I can say with reasonable confidence that it’s on track for publication by Tor Books in February of 2006. (That really means January, in case you’re not familiar with publishers’ calendars.)

The girls were on Channel 4 TV here in Boston Friday night (late night news), only we didn’t see it because we hadn’t gotten the word about when it was running. We heard about it from friends who happened to watch the news. It was a short piece about online learning through the Virtual High School, and their experience taking month-long courses this last month. Hope we get to see it sometime.

Galactica One Step Closer

I finished correcting the proofs for Battlestar Galactica today. A book always feels different when you see it typeset, and I’m happy to say that it I was pleased by the way it came out. I enjoyed reading it (not always true of reading my own stuff), and I got excited in the right places, and felt for the characters in the right places. So my hopes are high. Still no official word from the studio yet, but assuming nothing goes wrong there, it’s in Tor’s schedule for February 2006. If the Good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise.

At the same time, life just got busy on another level: we started dress rehearsal for Bye Bye Birdie at the Arlington Children’s Theater, and as I’m the head sound guy, I have to be there a lot, trying to get the sound to work out right and training a couple of new people—other parents who want to learn sound. That’s going to take up a lot of time for the next two weeks. My own kids are in four performances of the blue cast, plus there are four other performances by the red cast. It’ll be fun, but tiring.

I haven’t forgotten that I promised to write about rewriting, per Harry’s query. Just haven’t had time to do it yet.

Rocket Ride, Redux

My short-short story, “Rocket Ride: a Short Day’s Journey Into Space,” saw its second publication (slightly updated) last weekend, in the travel section of the Dallas Morning News (sans title). It’s a fun little piece that I wrote originally on commission from the Boston Herald travel editor, at a time when the Ansari X-Prize deadline was looming. Now, that prize has been won—which was why I had to update the story slightly.

Funny how these things happen. I’ve probably earned more per word, and per hour, on this story than on any other piece of fiction I’ve written. (Which tells you that, by and large, fiction doesn’t pay all that well.) I wrote it while on vacation at my in-laws in Puerto Rico, sitting under a cork tree.

Oops. I see you need to be registered to get to that link I put up above. Odd, I viewed the story just fine by following links to the travel section. Oh well, you can see the same story on my web site, if you’re interested. The pre-updated version, at the moment. Until I get around to uploading the changes.

Writing Progress

While doing all this home renovation, I have been trying to keep the writing projects in motion.

The page proofs for Battlestar Galactica: the Miniseries have arrived, so it’s time to go through the novel one more time. Advance reading copies are probably being printed as I speak, for the sales department and chain buyers, etc. Still awaiting word, though, on actual approval by the studio.

Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to return to work on Sunborn, the fourth book of The Chaos Chronicles. As usual, when I return to my own work after some time away, my eyes react to the sight of my manuscript like Teflon to water. It’s maybe a little worse this time, because this first draft has more than its share of problems. Oy. Does it. I’ve got my work cut out for me, rewriting and taming this book. I may need that chain saw again.

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