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Jul 152012
 

For a limited time, Smart Pop Books has posted my essay “Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse: 21st Century Neo-Gothic” from the essay collection Inside Joss’ Dollhouse as a free read. Get it while you can.

This is one of the first paid published pieces that emerged from my research, and I think it turned out pretty well. I am, according to one friend, “the world’s biggest Dollhouse fan”, and I love it the way you can only love a child that died young after a long struggle.

Jun 282012
 

My latest article is about the efforts to stop the Tran-Pacific Partnership, a secret trade agreement that could force your Internet service provider to snitch on you to AOLTimeWarner for posting fanfiction.

I’m discouraged when I see decisions being made in closed, dark rooms by unelected officials far from any oversight. It’s not defying the principles of liberal democracy, it’s simply ignoring them.

This job was a very fast turnaround for me, receiving the email around 5:00pm Tuesday and filing the story around 1:30pm Wednesday. I hope to put more effort into faster turnarounds on writing jobs, mainly by accelerating the time-consuming process on transcription process.

Jun 242012
 

Every Night Erotica just published my story, “Upstairs, Downstairs“. It’s a short-short story featuring Tangwen and Miss Ccri, two characters from my steampunk erotica short story collection, The Innocent’s Progress & Other Stories. 

I submitted this to another erotica publisher for another steampunk anthology, and they accepted it, but they insisted on a contract that gave them first refusal on those characters in any future stories. After I negotiated a bit and realized that they weren’t going to budge on this, I withdrew my submission and sent it to another publisher.

I always try to hang onto as many rights as possible.

Jun 212012
 

The episode of the Active Architecture podcast about Dollhouse episode 108 of “Needs” has a guest experience from yours truly, due to my essay in the Inside Joss’ Dollhouse anthology.

A friend called me the world’s biggest Dollhouse fan, and I do feel an attachment to the series. If Joss Whedon’s TV series and movies are his children, Firefly is the child who died too young and is remembered as angelic, whereas Dollhouse is the child who lasted into adolescent until it died from progeria, long enough for the flaws to show. You don’t see people dressing up like Dollhouse Actives at conventions, I’m pretty sure. The series got my attention with its adult themes and complex ideas, but because of network interference and a truncated production schedule, couldn’t adequately explore them. It’s a flawed jewel, more akin to Cabin in the Woods than The Avengers. If it’s possible to be a hipster within Whedon fandom, it’s the Dollhouse fans.

Jun 212012
 

My latest article is about a new video game lounge trying to get a liquor license that lets them have game consoles at the tables where they serve food and liquor. I don’t drink, so this is an academic issue for me, but I don’t like arbitrary and restrictive government regulations.

I do like the idea of a place where you can try out video games. I’ve never owned a video game console, nor do I currently own a PC that could really provide the full effect of a video game experience. (I also don’t have the time or the money really). However, I feel like I’m missing out on a medium that means a lot to a lot of people. It’s a generational thing, I think: millennials relate to Mass Effect and the like the way my generation related to Star Wars, but on an even more intimate level. I watched Mark Hammill and Harrison Ford as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. People today design their own version of Commander Shepherd and control him or her.

This was also an experiment in decreasing my turnaround time for articles. One of my biggest time sinks and also the most tedious part of the business is transcribing interviews from my digital recorder. I usually do very thorough transcripts, with an eye towards using the same research and interviews to write a different article for a different market. For the last few pieces, I’ve been trying to only transcribe the good quotes and just convert everything else to notes, to save time and aggravation. It seems to be working, as I did the last few articles much faster than I usually do.

Jun 132012
 

My article on sousveillance of police in Vancouver is up on Vancouver.Openfile.ca. I hope I can go a little further into this area in the future.

Interestingly, this piece has also come to the attention of a blog called Genuine Witty.

The blog posted a picture of me, captioned that I am “Shilin’ it for the DTES povertarians…” The author says that “Peter wrote a great informational piece about CopWatch- that said, it is a bit fluffy, and misses out on some of the meat of the story.”

As far as I can tell, this blog is mainly personal opinions about some kind of argument between people formerly involved with Occupy Vancouver, and the article is an attempt to subsume my article into that discourse.

Well, at least somebody is reading.

May 082012
 

My latest article is up on Vancouver.Openfile.ca, about the limited choices for video in Vancouver.

I’m old enough to live through the video revolution. I remember going to see a video store for the first time, in what must have been the early 80s (there was still BetaMax) and being astonished that there were that many movies in existence.

I’ve also lived only a 10-minute walk from where Videomatica used to be in Kitsilano. Now I feel vaguely guilty about not patronizing Videomatica more, as if renting a DVD once a week could make a difference against Vancouver’s rising property rents. Another factor was the lack of instant gratification. If you’re used to seeing a web page or a YouTube click instantaneously, hauling your ass out of the house to physically carry a hunk of storage media from a store to your house and then take it back felt like a drag.

Researching this story brought me back into browsing video store shelves, which I found I missed. Or rather, it’s something I missed when I was actually experiencing it, not something that I missed when I wasn’t. We need a name for that particular kind of not-quite nostalgia.

The social networking of the Internet can sort-of replace that browsing experience, and I suspect sooner or later somebody will figure out the licensing problems and we’ll have access to a large library of streaming titles for a reasonable price. Until then, we’re in an awkward transition.

“A video store where there used to be real, live actors….”

 Posted by at 12:20
Apr 102012
 

In the unlikely event I ever become a martial arts master with lightning reflexes, hands of steel and situational awareness so acute I can tell how many fillings my opponent has, I promise that I will use my formidable abilities with all due ethical restraint and honor.

There is, however, one exception. There is one particular type of person in one particular situation I would beat the crap out of on general principle, without hesitation or mercy.

I am speaking, of course, of night club doormen.

I fantasize that I walk up to a nightclub in some downtown in some city, stride up to some oversize, shaven-headed guy with a black t-shirt, a headset and clipboard, being told, “Back of the line,” and do my full Shaolin Temple-Muay Thai-Savate-hybrid  spinning-drop-roundhouse-coup de pied kick to deliver my size ten-and-a-half straight into his temple. The guy goes down –just temporarily, no brain damage or anything– and I just stroll into the nightclub. If a few attractive women in the now liberated line ask, “Who was that guy?”, so much the better.

I don’t even like nightclubs, but I resent the institution of the doorman on general principle. He is the modern example of the concept that you can always pay half the poor to keep the other half in line, a traitor to his class. His authority sole derives from his employer, and that tiny sliver of power goes straight to his head. The nightclub doorman exists solely to drive up demand, to create an artificial barrier, to con the rest of us into standing outside in the cold and rain for hours and then pay for the privilege of paying for overpriced drinks and chicken wings that manage to be both dry and greasy. He is the embodiment, the willing executioner, the face of this system of inequality and exploitation. He is DRM in human form, the instrument of socio-economic privilege, powered by Red Bull and creatine.

I’m not going to bother this guy at home or anywhere else. But put him in a black t-shirt next to a velvet rope and a glass door, and he’ll be spitting out teeth. This is my own act of asymmetrical warfare against the system the doorman represents. Bring down the doorman, breach the arbitrary border that he enforces, and the whole system crumbles. What might seem to be a petty fantasy of revenge or taking out frustrations on some minor functionary is, in fact, a revolutionary act, a blow for justice.

I will look the doorman square in the collarbone, say, “Sorry, bruh, nothing personal,” dispatch him, and proceed on my mission of liberation.

 Posted by at 23:32