Pavilion Digest: March 2009

A plethora of perplexing pavilion posts. The Pavilion Annex thread, the Pavilion Discussion thread, and monthly digests of all messages from the Pavilion.

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For Shagin

Postby Adam-Troy » Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:18 am

Name: Adam-Troy Castro
Source: unca20090603.htm
In light of your anecdote about the editor who asked you to "make it weirder," I pass on the best writing advice I ever received, several stories into my professional career, which resonates with that.

I had broken in after years of trying with a couple of pieces, one of them an experimental horror story that made a significant splash in its small pond. (It was called "Clearance to Land," and it's been reprinted in a few best-of collections, though never in any collection of mine, as I now see nothing but flaws in it and feel that it might take more effort to fix than it's worth.) Though I'd sold a number of pieces after that, nothing I'd done had impressed anybody to the same degree.

The editors who took that story, Kris Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith, came to my local convention and asked to take me to breakfast. During the meal they addressed what had been bothering them about my submissions for quite some time. "When you wrote that first story, you were a little self-conscious about it, weren't you? You were upset that it was coming out of you?"

"Well, yeah."

"And the stories you've submitted to us since then, you've felt a little more comfortable about them? More secure about your storytelling?"

I preened. My editors liked me! They thought I was making progress! "Yes."

Pie in the face: "Well, THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE NOW DOING WRONG."

So I went home and within the next five days they received a story from me that began with a hideously scarred guy methodically sawing off his own thumbs, that got the rejection notice, "Ummm. A little less." (That one eventually sold, too, just not to them.) It took me a while to internalize what the advice meant even in non-horrific terms, which is: when you the writer wonder if you've just gone too far, in sentiment or over-the-top humor or sexual tension or even moral rage, that's almost always the sign that you've gone just far enough. And again, it can be a *happy* moment that makes you feel that way, as I recognized years later when I wondered whether it was too much for the climax of another story to bring in a big grinning floppy-eared golden lab. Going too far? Nope. Far enough.

Best advice I ever got.


AMAZING RACE Neep: When you find yourself stuffing your shirt with bushels of camel feed, it's time to wonder if you might have overlooked the utility of that big pile of wicker baskets lying there in plain sight.

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Congratulations Shagin

Postby TallyJohnson » Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:45 am

Name: Tally
Source: unca20090603.htm
I'm green with envy...or is that the dregs of my St. Paddy's hangover?

Good job and I look forward to reading it.

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Postby markabaddon » Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:09 am

Name: Mark Goldberg
Source: unca20090603.htm
Sandra, congrats, that is absolutely wonderful news but not a surprise to me. As someone to whom you have sent one or two of your works to look at as a friend, I never had any doubt that your stories would one day be published. Mazel Tov.

I have a bit of a different perspective on this whole AIG bonus situation. Some of you know that I work in HR, specifically in figuring out how to pay people in an organization. What these executives did at AIG was to take their base salary for a period of time (I believe a year, although it could have been longer) and converted it to incentive compensation. So to call what they received a "bonus" really ain't necessarily right. They were not getting paid something above and beyond their normal pay, that really was their pay for that timeframe.

Now you can argue that they were not worth a $2-3 million salary, especially when these were the executives making terrible decisions and that is a valid argument. However, the salary they were drawing was fairly typical for executives in that industry so they probably should be paid wages commensurate with their peers. Arguing they should not be paid that amount when it is driven by the market is like saying that a baseball player or actor or screenwriter should not be paid what they are earning when companies typically pay the wages they need to pay to attract talent to their organization. (By the way, the counter-argument to this line of reasoning is that if AIG went into bankruptcy, these executives might have received nothing under the terms of the bankruptcy agreement. A fair point but the judge may have ruled to allow the compensation to stand, as it was a recent change in lieu of salary)

There is and should be a ton of outrage over this financial crisis. People like Paulson, possibly Geitner, and the heads of Citi and Chase deserve our scorn and anger. The guys from AIG, many of whom have already returned all or part of their "bonus", are not the ones to focus upon when there are much bigger fish to fry.

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Postby FrankChurch » Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:41 am

Name: Frank Church
Source: unca20090603.htm
Mr. David Silver, you do not know me well enough to make such a comment about my 'warped' perspective. I have a unique perspective, but only because America has a bunch of boring, lifeless people living here. This rock does not pump much mental gas.

On AIG, let's not forget that the salaries/bonuses were paid for by OUR tax money, not from their massive profits, which no longer exist. They should not be paid for bad service and I bet you anything that the Janitor didn't get any bonus. I bet that person is the only one at AIG who is actually doing the best job. See, this is what gets me about Capitalism, we never reward the right people.

Harlan should sell like Steve King but doesn't. Talk about the idiocy of capitalism. You can have it.

How warped is that?

Anarchism is my gold bug.


Mark, shameful. Twenty lashes with a copy of Wealth of Nations.

People that mess with our economy don't deserve salaries, they deserve jail cells.


Shagin, you should be mighty weird by now, hanging with this crew. Imagine me in a bikini, hanging ten on the a huge Rush Limbaugh head.

Michael Mayhew
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hamsters n' worms

Postby Michael Mayhew » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:29 am

Name: michael Mayhew
Source: unca20090603.htm

Given that your computer suffers from worms and that your hamsters won't dance...

And given that A) you are not a computer-tinkering kind of guy but that B) many Webderlanders are that kind of guy (or gal) and C) that of that subset, many live in the Los Angeles area...

Would it not make sense for you to invite one of them over for a visit, offer them a nice cuppa and maybe a tosated English muffin, and then let them open the hood on your machine and see what can be done?

Or is that just crazy talk?

By the way, I do not include myself in that highly technical group. My solution for your problem (as it has been for other highly creative people who aren't that interested in technical crap) would be: go buy an iMac, and pay the cable company for faster internet service. But I think this would go over like a lead ballon as it would cost you about $1,500 for the machine plus another fifty bucks a month for the service and who am I to be so free with your money? But the upside is that the machines are well designed for folks who just want the thing to work.

* * *

Sandra - Good on you!!!


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Postby Michael Mayhew » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:32 am

Name: Michael Mayhew
Source: unca20090603.htm
You probably thought I meant "toasted." But I said tosated and I meant tosated. It's a verb. You could look it up.

Digging in,


Andrew F

Congrats to Shagin

Postby Andrew F » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:51 am

Name: Andrew F
Source: unca20090603.htm
Shagin, congratulations on your accepted flash fiction piece. Be sure to let us know when the issue goes live/hits 'stands. And do fully enjoy and revel and bask in the thrill of getting published.

With 17 stories in the wind, I just set a personal record of three rejections in one day. Oy vey. To alleviate the sting, I always I send them back out same day.

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Robin Williams surgery

Postby Dennis C » Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:00 am

Name: Dennis c
Source: unca20090603.htm
Yahoo News is reporting that Robin's doing well after surgery:

NEW YORK Robin Williams was recovering at the Cleveland Clinic after heart surgery that his doctors deemed successful, his publicists said Monday.

The 57-year-old actor had an operation to replace an aortic valve on March 13, publicists Mara Buxbaum and Chris Kanarick said. He was expected to make a complete recovery in the next eight weeks.

"His heart is strong and he will have normal heart function in the coming weeks with no limitations on what he'll be able to do," said Dr. A. Marc Gillinov, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic. "A couple of hours after surgery, he was entertaining the medical team and making us all laugh."

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Chuck Messer
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Postby Chuck Messer » Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:18 am

Name: Chuck Messer
Source: unca20090603.htm
Just wanted to pile on with more congratulations to Shagin on that first sale. Way to go!


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Harlan Ellison
Harlan Fucking Ellison
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Postby Harlan Ellison » Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:28 am

Source: unca20090603.htm
DAVID SILVER: No Hydrox needed at the moment, but thanks. James Moran and Jodie Kearns, in England, however, are addicted now, as well ... but the cost and breakability and spoilage aspects of renewing their stock is too monumental even to parse. So, thanks, David, but no, I'm okay with the stock I've retained in the freezer.

I HAD A THOUGHT TODAY - Part 2 is going to have to wait a bit, till we straighten out the pc. I have been sitting here for precisely 26 minutes just to get on, get to the Pavillion, and to post this. All will present itself when we get Barber up here, or a Geek Squad, or somesuch cadre, to sort out the worms, the non-dancing hamsters, the infinitely wearying pace of doing the tiniest chore.

See ya when I see ya.


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"You had me at 'Hello'"

Postby Moderator » Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:23 am

Name: Steve Barber
Source: unca20090603.htm
HARLAN - I'll call you later today to set up a time. Let the Geeks be your path of second choice.

Anybody got a hammer I can borrow?

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Re Thoughts for the Day

Postby BrianSiano » Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:54 am

Name: Brian Siano
Source: unca20090603.htm
Harlan, I could swear that you're starting to get comfortable with writing on a computer.

So this begs a question, and I mean this as snark-free as I can make it. Why the sudden "thought for a day" project? It's a surprise for us for two big reasons.

The first reason is that it's not very different from blogging. I do it myself, so there's no sniping or sly poking or anything in my saying this. Blogging can be anything from describing today's breakfast to writing substantial essays on the bailout bill.

The second reason is that doing it requires you to use a computer and this website's posting system to write. I could see you doing this if you wrote it on your typewriter, and had someone else do the work to get it on the Web. But you're adding an extra level of work to this.

So what's the attraction?

Frank Andrews

Postby Frank Andrews » Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:55 am

Name: Frank Andrews
Source: unca20090603.htm
I use dial-up at home and my hamsters dance. If fact I use dial-up with WebTV, which is probably the next best thing to not having internet access at all, but I still get the dancing hamsters. In some way maybe this illuminates how serious Mr. Ellison's sedentary hamsters problem might be.

Or maybe his hamsters just don't like the music.

News Reader

The janitor

Postby News Reader » Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:40 pm

Name: News Reader
Source: unca20090603.htm
Actually, in the body of the article on AIG that I linked is written:

Begin quote

The effort also requires a sizable number of "back office" staff, such as systems, computing, accounting, human resources and legal teams.

Everybody, including my secretary and including the guy down the hall that serves lunch, gets a payment," said Pasciucco, who added that he received no retention payment and has no contract. "

End Quote

So, if true, then secretaries and lunch room workers get "bonuses". It did not say anything about janitors, but since they usually work for the buildings owner rather than the lessee, that might explain their absence from the list.

Ironic that a self described anarchist emits the loudest and most constant calls for freedom from government, yet is among the first to call for the ultimate concrete expression of state power: the prison cell.

Then again, any capitalist taking policy and financial advice from a self described anarchist is summat like Wolfgang Puck seeking cooking advice from Hannibal Lecter.

Travis Yoder

My twenty-sixth post here

Postby Travis Yoder » Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:21 pm

Name: Travis Yoder
Source: unca20090603.htm
Arent we forgetting something here? The fundamentally treacherous nature of hamsters?

(A) Theyre rodents. You know the type.

(B) They burrow underground. What does that tell you?

(C) The word hamster mayjust maybe of Iranian origin: hamaestar, meaning oppressor.

Sure, they seem friendly, even cuddly, at first. They say, Look how cute I am! Take me into your home. I could never hurt anybody. Ill even dance for you. Thenwhen youve gotten comfortable with them aroundwhen youre not looking at every little adorable thing they dothings change. The dancing stops. You say, Hey, lil oochie-woochie fuzzy-face, whats the matter, hmmmm? And they just look at you like those creepy kids from VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED. What are they thinking? What are they planning? You wont know until your back is turned. And then it will be too late.

H.E., I say shoot those furry fifth columnists like you did that famous mail-bound gopher years back.

Gerbils are cool though,

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