Author Lawrence Watt-Evans

Two big thank you’s to kick off today’s entry.  First a big thank you to Lawrence Watt-Evans, author of The Misenchanted Sword, December’s Book of the Month Club pick, for kindly taking the time to drop by and field our questions.  Second, an equally big thank you to the nameless blog regular who sent me a copy of The Misenchanted Sword sometime last year, bringing the book to my attention and, ultimately, introducing me to what turned out to be an immensely enjoyable read.

Oh, and today’s entry is dedicated to Sheryl’s twins.  Happy Birthday!  And Happy Birthday!

Now, over to Lawrence Watt-Evans…

Tammy Dixon writes: “For Lawrence Watt-Evans: I enjoyed “The Misenchanted Sword”. It was a fun read and I eagerly awaited reading about the “clause” for the old wizard’s spell.

My two questions for you are: Did you have any fencing experience when you wrote Valder’s fight scenes?”

LWE: Not really.  I had one fencing lesson in college, and that was it.

However, I’ve read extensively on the manufacture and use of swords, and I own an 18th-century Persian blade that I used to act out some scenes and make sure they made sense.

“Can you clarify the differences between Sorcery, Witchcraft and Wizardry in your book? I understand that Sorcerers, in this story, were associated with demons but I’m unclear on Witchcraft/Wizardry because they didn’t seem so benign either.”

LWE: It’s not a matter of whether they’re benign or malign.  The world of Ethshar has several different varieties of magic, and they don’t generally work well together.  Some of this gets explained in later books in the series; I confess I don’t remember exactly what’s in which book.

They’re largely distinguished by where they get their power.

Sorcery is powered by talismans — magical energy trapped in specific objects — and is rather mysterious to most Ethsharites, as it was largely a Northern thing.

Witchcraft is powered by the user’s own body — witches can die of exhaustion if they try to cast too powerful a spell, and it follows the laws of conservation of energy, so it’s limited in what it can do as far as sheer power goes, but it can be very subtle.

Wizardry uses charged symbols to draw on the raw chaos that underlies reality, so it doesn’t follow any rational laws — a tiny cause can have a gigantic effect, and there’s virtually limitless power available, but it can go wrong in thousands of ways.  The slightest error in a spell can be disastrous, but it’s so useful when it works that people take the risks anyway.

Other major forms of magic include theurgy, which calls on the gods for help, and demonology, which involves bargaining with demons, but Ethshar’s gods and demons aren’t quite the traditional sort.  Minor schools of magic include herbalism (power from plants) and ritual dance (power from shared emotion) and science (power from knowledge).

In later books there’s also warlockry, which draws on a mysterious power source in the mountains of Aldagmor.

“Thank you, for participating in this Q & A!”

LWE: You’re welcome!

AvidReader writes: “Can you tell us a little about your experience with The Spriggan Mirror and The Vondish Ambassador that were published online before making their way to bookstores.  What were your reasons for doing so?  Was the experience a positive one?  Did it meet your expectations?  If so, what were your expectations?  And would you consider continuing publishing in this manner?”

LWE: Ah, this is complicated, and I suspect most readers don’t want all the details, so forgive me if I abbreviate it somewhat.  It’s going to be a very long answer even in abbreviated form; some readers may want to skip ahead.

The Ethshar series was fairly successful for several years, but sales gradually declined, and after eight novels my publisher, Tor Books, decided they didn’t want the ninth one after all — my other fantasy novels sold significantly better for them than Night of Madness and Ithanalin’s Restoration did, so they wanted more of those and not Ethshar.

They had actually signed a contract for the ninth one, The Spriggan Mirror, but asked me to cancel it, and I agreed — mostly because they said that while they would pay me for it, as the contract required, they didn’t intend to publish it.  So that ended the series as far as the big New York publishers were concerned.

But I’d written a few chapters before the cancellation, and I had fans asking for more Ethshar, so in April 2005 I decided to try an experiment.  I announced I was posting the first chapter on the web, and would post another chapter for every hundred dollars readers sent me.

Honestly, what I expected to happen was that I would get maybe $200 or so, and that would be the end of it — if anyone asked why I wasn’t writing any more Ethshar novels, I would just point out that I’d tried going directly to readers and it hadn’t worked.

But what did happen was that it did work.  Money came in very quickly, and kept coming, so I found myself committed to writing the novel and posting it to the web at one chapter a week.  Six months later it was done, all twenty-eight chapters, and I sold the finished novel to Wildside Press.  Wildside couldn’t afford to pay me enough to write a new novel, but when I’d written this one anyway, they were delighted to publish it.

It was fun — kind of exhausting, keeping up the weekly schedule, but fun.  I decided to try again.  $100 per chapter was way too little for the amount of work involved, though; I wouldn’t have set it that low if I’d expected it to succeed.  So when I did it a second time, with The Vondish Ambassador, I raised the price to $250 per chapter.  Which still worked, but seemed to be about the limit, as at that price it sometimes took more than a week to pay for each chapter.

I did try a third time.  This time I wanted to see whether it would work with something other than Ethshar, so last year I started a serial of Realms of Light, a sequel to my 1989 science fiction detective novel Nightside City.

That didn’t go over so well.  I’ve written the whole thing, twenty chapters, but only the first twelve have been posted.  It’s taking a month or two to pay for each chapter.  If you want to check it out, it’s at http://www.watt-evans.com/realmsoflight0.html .

When that’s finished, if it ever is, I plan to try another Ethshar story, since those seem to work better.  I’m hoping to launch The Final Calling some time in 2010.

Narelle from Aus writes: “ My question for Lawrence Watt-Evans. You made reference to dates such as the year 5000, so I was wondering whether this was a world completely apart from our reality or was it set in a more dystopian future of this reality?”

LWE: In other stories in the series it’s explained that the years are counting from when the gods first taught human beings to talk — instead of 2009 AD, the form is Y.S. 5201, for “the Year of Speech 5201.”

KellyK : “Questions for the author:

1.     As Joe pointed out, this book was atypical of most fantasy novels.  I was wondering if you consider yourself a fan of the genre and, if yes, which authors or titles in particular?”

LWE: Oh, I’m a huge fan of fantasy, though a picky one.  My favorite author, bar none, is Terry Pratchett — I’ve written an entire book about the Discworld series.  I also love L. Sprague de Camp’s fantasy, and Lord Dunsany’s — I’d recommend The Incompleat Enchanter and The Unbeheaded King series from de Camp, and The Charwoman’s Shadow and The Gods of Pegana from Dunsany.  Clark Ashton Smith’s short stories, Robert E. Howard’s Conan, Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, George Macdonald’s The Princess and the Goblin — there’s lots of great fantasy out there.  It just isn’t the stuff that most people seem to read.

“2.     What kind of reception did The Misenchanted Sword receive on its publication?  What was your reaction?  And how does it feel knowing that your book has attained an almost cult-like status among readers?”

LWE: It was an immediate hit, which was wonderful.  It never quite broke out onto the mainstream bestseller lists or anything, but it sold well and got good reviews.  It had gotten positive reactions starting right from the acceptance letter from Lester del Rey — he spent a page pointing out everything I’d done wrong, how I’d kept some of the action off-stage, how the ending violated traditional rules, and so on, and then said, “But somehow it all works anyway, so I’ll take it.”

I love knowing that something I did has so many fans.  It’s one of the great pleasures of being a writer, hearing from people who have enjoyed my work, and with The Misenchanted Sword I heard that a lot.

The only drawback is that I wish I could do it more often.  The only book I’ve written since that came close to receiving so favorable a reception was Dragon Weather.

“3.     Did you ever consider the possibility of a Misenchanted Sword movie?  If so, who would you cast as Valder?”

LWE: I’d love to see it made into a movie, but that’s never up to the writer; it’s a matter of a movie producer taking an interest, and so far that hasn’t happened.  As for casting, I don’t know — at one time I might have suggested Russell Crowe, but I don’t think so anymore.

Bridjess writes: “Afew q’s for Lawrence Watt-Evans:

When Valder was going round Ethshar of the Spices looking for a way out of his curse, I couldn’t stop thinking about how he had all that money he had saved and didn’t fix his eyesight, surely even if he was trying to kill himself good eyesight would have helped and even been nice, or was it that you knew he’d have them fixed at some point later and left it for a while?”

LWE: To be honest, I don’t remember anymore what I was thinking when I wrote that part.  I agree that getting his eyesight fixed would make sense; maybe he didn’t realize it could be done, or just didn’t think it was worth the trouble.

TimC. writes: “A great book.  Some questions for Lawrence Watt-Evans:

Was it always your intention to keep the story focused on Valder to the point where big picture elements like the war were relegated to the background?  I thought it was a bold narrative decision that worked very well even though it left me very curious about some of the developments only mentioned in passing (like those demons).  While you were writing, were you ever tempted to stray off course and get into the meat of these backstory elements?”

LWE: Oh, the Great War and all the rest was always just background for Valder’s story.  I tend to be a small-focus writer, interested in individuals rather than big sweeping sagas.  This drives my agent crazy sometimes, as the big sweeping sagas are easier to sell, but it’s what I want to do.

I wasn’t really tempted to explain any of the background; I have it all worked out, I know how it all works, but I also knew that it wasn’t part of this particular story.

“You’ve had stories and books published in the realms of fantasy, science fiction AND horror.  Do you have a preference?  If so, would you mind explaining what draws you to that genre?”

LWE: I prefer fantasy; I like the freedom to fit the world to the story.  I usually like to be lighter in tone than horror allows, and science fiction can be limited by the need to keep the science and technology consistent with itself and with reality.

But they’re all fun.

Sparrow_hawk writes: “ Questions and comments for Lawrence Watt-Evans:

Thanks for stopping by to answer questions for us. I realize that you wrote The Misenchanted Sword more than twenty years ago, so if you don’t have answers to my questions I completely understand. After all, I can hardly remember what I had for breakfast most days.

1.     I really enjoyed the book! How did you come up with the idea of the sword and its effects? At first the whole thing seemed comical but as time went on the consequences of the “misenchantment” took a more serious turn. The idea of aging without being able to die is pretty grim.”

LWE: This is going to sound stupid, but the idea for the sword came to me in a dream.  Really truly, it did — I still have (somewhere) the slip of paper with the note I wrote myself that morning, so I wouldn’t forget it.

I don’t usually get my story ideas that way, but I did for this one.

Another odd thing is, that original note was only about the sword, and in fact I came up with, and discarded, two other stories about it before settling on the one I actually wrote.

“2. I loved the war being resolved off-stage, as it were. I thought it was a very unorthodox, but very effective, way to shift the focus away from the grand, historical scale and into the personal. If that makes sense…”

LWE: Thanks.

“3. I’m probably being a bit dense and I hate having to ask someone to explain a joke but, since the hermit botched the Spell of True Ownership can Valder eventually get rid of Wirikidor? Not that he would want to now that he has eternal youth to go with his virtual immortality.”

LWE: No, there’s no way out while he’s alive; it’s because the spell was botched that there’s a limit on how many times he can use the sword.

Airelle writes: “I wondered what became of the wizard who enchanted the sword, and was thrilled that Valder met up with Iridith, and they lived happily ever after.. Could he and Iridith have kids, would they inherit the youth spell? just wondering.. This was a nice easy read, and I enjoyed it. thank you.”

LWE: No, their kids wouldn’t inherit the youth spell.  That’s an interesting idea, though.  That could have some story possibilities.

PaleRider17 writes: “I notice a nice mix of original and tie-in works in your bibliography.  What would you say are the pros and cons of writing tie-in novels?  Would you say they give you more creative freedom since the world and its characters are pre-established, or does it handcuff you because of the publisher’s “You’re welcome to play in our sandbox, but make sure you put the toys back where you found them when you’re done.” mentality?  Is there a particular tie-in novel you’re most proud of?  Thank you.”

LWE: Tie-ins are fun because I don’t need to make everything from scratch — part of the work’s been done for me.  Also, I get to play with characters and settings I would never have thought of on my own.

And — okay, this is probably going to sound bad, so bear with me — I don’t feel as if I need to have everything make sense.

When I’m creating my own worlds, I try very hard to make everything logically consistent; if it doesn’t make sense to me, that’s a constant distraction, something I feel I need to fix.  If I’m writing, say, a Star Trek novel, though, I don’t need to worry about that; I can just say, “Well, that’s how it is in the Star Trek universe, we’ve seen it, and if it doesn’t make sense that’s not my problem.”  So I can get away with sloppy science and world-building that would drive me nuts if I’d done it myself.

That’s oddly freeing.

Yes, there are other elements that aren’t freeing at all — I can’t change things that are already established in the original work, no matter how much it might improve my story — but that just makes it a challenge.

And the whole “put everything back the way I found it” angle is limiting, but it also means I don’t need to worry too much about giving my characters a lot of emotional development or complexity, because it’s all going back to square one anyway when I’m done.

Writing tie-ins is different from writing my own work, but I’d be hard put to say whether it’s really harder or easier on balance.  It’s fun, but it feels shallower, somehow.  And of course, while the up-front money can be good, I don’t wind up owning anything, so from a business point of view it’s a mixed bag, as well.

As for which I’m proudest of, I think my Mars Attacks! novel, Martian Deathtrap, was the most fun, as the whole point was to be over the top, but the one that I think was probably my best was Predator:  Concrete Jungle.  It was nominally a novelization of Mark Verheiden’s comic book mini-series, but the movie people demanded so many changes, and I had to add so much stuff to suit them, that it’s about as much mine as Mark’s, and I’m pleased with how it came out.

And thank you all for giving me some entertaining questions!

— Lawrence

53 thoughts on “December 19, 2009: Author Lawrence Watt-Evans Answers Your Questions!

  1. This afternoon caught a rerun of this past week’s Closer episode. Beau Bridges was playing a woman (he’d had a sex change), he was very good, albeit not very attractive…he hadn’t waxed those eyebrows…

  2. Wow, this has been one of the most informative guest blogs yet (especially re: internet publishing and tie-in novels)! Huge thanks as usual! 😀

    @Joe: Told Ashleigh how amazing she is yet? Or shall I just write her a note? Does she get fan mail too? 😉

  3. Joe,

    Try using Safari instead of Firefox on your mac, Safari runs so much better and much faster than Firefox in Snow Leopard. Also try Google’s Chrome for OS X, it’s even faster than Safari.

  4. Many thanks to Mr. Watt-Evans for being so prompt in answering. Thanks to Mr. M. for making it possible. I’ll be hitting my book dealer up to get hold of more books by the author.
    Just an fyi to all those who do not care, the snow fizzled here. sleet came in and we got only 2 of the 5 or more inches we were promised. Hmm. sounds like some dates I’ve..,..never mind…..

  5. That was a great q&A, thanks for it Joe and Mr Watt-Evans. Now I have some more books to check out. Always on the lookout for a good read.
    Joe I hope your weekend has been fun and happy.

  6. Hey, das! Are you okay out there on the coast? I hear you’re having quite a blizzard.

    And apologies to Mr. Watt-Evans for misspelling his name.

  7. LWE wrote, “Ah, this is complicated, and I suspect most readers don’t want all the details, so forgive me if I abbreviate it somewhat. It’s going to be a very long answer even in abbreviated form; some readers may want to skip ahead.”

    Never!!! I have to read every word! I can’t explain why, but I absolutely love these author Q&A’s. The are fascinating. A big time author talking to little ‘ole us. How cool is that?!

    Thank you Lawrence Watt-Evans.
    Thank you Joe.

  8. @PG-15 – Thanks for the information about the Destiny. I try to keep up on what the producers are saying about the show, but, being busy with other things, I do miss some of the details, so, that was much appreciated. Are you going to drop by the Vancouver Creation convention again this year? I’d love to say hi.

    For the goodies when we were kids:

    1) art supplies
    2) Lincoln logs
    3) Risk
    4) ThingMaker
    5) Johnny West action figures
    6)deck of cards
    7)Play doh (of course)
    8) Barbie
    9)That cool little stove that made Real cakes in miniature.
    10) Games like, “Don’t break the ice”.

    Patricia

  9. Coucou Joseph!

    🙂 ça va bien? Merci pour ces Q/A posé à Lawrence Watt-Evans !

    Une belle journée commence et je repasserai plus tard 🙂

    Gros bisou!
    A plus tard!

  10. Joe, I loved the “I’m not angry enough” reply. I’m getting this image in my head of the Amazing Hulk except instead of destroying things, typing furiously.

    Oh and I feel inclined to note that it was a nonsensically warm day here in wonderful Southern California. There are predictions that Christmas will be in the high seventies or possibly eighties. Can someone fix the weather please? Although it could be worse…

  11. Re 🙂

    Rolalala c’est déprimant en ce moment, il n’y a aucune new!! Vous auriez pas un super Spoiler à nous dévoiler?

    ..et au niveau du prochain film de sg1, je voudrai vraiment savoir où sa en est?

  12. no anything other than firefox is a downgrade. but safari is way better than internet explorer though. oh yeah since you are a windows guy or were, you might wanna lower that gamma level, i dont know why but macs by default have this totally whitish brightness look that my eyes cant take. mac people like that stuff, but normal people would rather have their display look more peaceful with the world around it. see the difference for yourself, go to system preferences, choose displays and then color, then calibrate, you dont need to do that advanced stuff-all we need to change is the gamma thing, so just go for the simple option and there will be an option i think where it lets you choose between 1.8 and 2.2. pick the 2.2 one. the difference is drastic. i couldnt write a thing on word before changing that one. anyway, did you find the right click yet? YA THERE ISNT ONE!!! lol makes plagiarism for me very difficult, i mean, I mean, hard to highlight over key sentences lol

  13. yeah Joe, would it kill you to talk about a movie that just got released? I dont want to talk about AVATAR to a person who may or may not have seen it out of fear of spoiling it.
    so will reviewing a movie like that online hurt your future prospects? if you know what i mean. or you dont want to distract yourself right now? im in the minority, i thought the story sucked, too predictable, too straightforward, too un-sophisticated —-something youd expect from Transformers (which was more engaging) than a famous movie like this. no suspense whatsoever, Pandora is as fake as Pamela Anderson’s boobs and the story will only appeal to the people who have such high unreasonably cynical view of humanity, which is basically everyone, and the movie is as thought-provoking as a Disney cartoon (which is how people will see it as in the future). its sad to see how people’s tastes in movies are merely driven by simplistic formula and trendy propaganda.

  14. Hi,
    Don’t know if you’ve ever read the “Wheel of Time” series.
    Making a suggestion.
    I’m currently on the third “Ice and Fire” series. So far, I like the “Wheel of Time” series better.
    And this is another to add to a list of reading.
    Thanks.

  15. @ Sparrowhawk – Overall, we got about 6 inches. We had a bit of rain/sleet and melt during the day (had the snow not melted a little we would have had closer to 10 inches, according to our weatherman friend).

    The problem is that here, under the pretty snow, is probably ice. Ice is the bane of our existence. Snow usually melts during the day, freezes at night…and secondary roads are rarely plowed. Sometimes the deep slush freezes, and we have roads and even sidewalks that look like the surface of the moon – terrible for driving AND walking! For that reason I’m glad we didn’t get the 2 feet the rest of the state (and Philly, Delaware) got – 2 feet of snow at the shore = a week or more of ice, ice, ice in an area where people don’t know how to clear ice, let alone drive and walk on it. It becomes treacherous. Fortunately we haven’t had much frozen precip over the past decade or so, and certainly nothing like when I was a kid. Makes you really believe in global warming, lemme tell ya. Well…until today. 😉

    And speaking of our weatherman friend (he’s also one of our employees and longtime friend AND my ‘computer tech’), he has an entire weather station, and has kept records for years. News outlets use him for local weather conditions, and he also provides weather info for police investigations and stuff. It’s a really interesting hobby (that’s all it is for him), and he probably knows more about our weather than any well-paid meteorologist on the news. So, guess who the first person was I talked to when I rolled out of bed today?? Yup, Wayno, the weather guy! I’m just as bad as Joey with cute Asian chicks, only I chat up weather geeks! 😀

    Gotta run! Mr. Das is barking for his breakfast (and my tummy just rumbled, too). How do pancakes with fresh bananas and strawberries, and a side of porkroll, sound? MMMMM!! Have a good day, everyone! You too, Joe!

    das

  16. Thank you to Mr. M., and Lawrence Watt-Evans. It’s very nice for both of you to provide this opportunity. Great Q & A!!!

    T

  17. *throws snowball at Joey*

    Come on, get up! Time to play! 😀

    Speaking of playing…

    Yesterday I made a wine cork bulletin board for Mr. Das, and we both put together a Lego Batmobile kit… this one:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v54/dasNdanger/legobat.jpg

    Mr. Das is out shoveling drives and sides for family and friends right now, so you know what that means…mid-morning nap wif da kittehs!! 😀

    Ciao!

    das

  18. Thank you Mr Watt-Evans for answering our questions.

    Let’s see. Sweden. -25 degrees. Hmmm, only one thing that would keep me warm in that situation… Alexander Skarsgard.

  19. What timing! I finally get back to reading your blog and it happens to be a great Q&A with an author…just as I’m starting to look for another book to read! I’ll definitely be checking Lawrence Watt-Evans out!

    Amz/Amy

  20. *pokes Joey with finger – doink-doink!*

    Heya! Whatcha doin’??!

    ..

    .

    Come on…huh-huh, whatcha doin’??! Anything important??! ‘Cause…guess what, GUESS WHAT!!

    I’m totally bored. 😛

    I think I have cabin fever…so, ya know…entertain me. 😀

    das

  21. I’m multi-tasking: working on my scripts, working on my blog entry, checking my emails, studying some Japanese, and watching some football. You?

  22. I could sing you a song. Or tell you about this amazing new Japanese language app I got for my iphone. Every time you swing your phone, it delivers an audio bite of a new, quirky Japanese phrase.

    Ananto no onaka no o naka ni neko ni aru?: Is there a cat in your belly?

    Watashi no patsu wa patee ga aru: There’s a party in my pants.

    Entertained yet? No. Informed at least?

  23. Okay…in reality…

    I did get a big ol’ nap! 😀 Wif kittehs!! 😀 Then I fed said kittehs, walked outside for two minutes and came right back in, ate some chili, talked to my mom and dad on the phone (four times), ordered two Wolverine calendars from Marvel, made up the daybed (can’t make the big bed ’cause kittehs are still sleepin’!), washed up dishes, cleaned litter pans, watched rugby, watched the news, looked at the 240 unread e-mails in my hotmail and clicked right the hell outta there, contemplated the meaning of life, drank some wine, re-contemplated the meaning of life, picked up some wayward socks, updated Windows on hubby’s computer…and now I’m staring at a pile of comics, just waiting to be read. And in the middle of typing all of this, I got interrupted by Mr. Das causing a disaster in the kitchen.

    I think I win! 😀

    das

  24. You never know when that might come in handy.

    Already filed away for my next Tokyo trip.

  25. What kind of chili? Homemade?? Mine was, and topped with fresh diced tomatoes and onions, grated pepper jack cheese, and fresh-squeezed lime juice (it gives it an added zing). I put some chocolate in my chili while it’s cooking, too…mellows it a bit. No hot peppers though, Mr. Das doesn’t like things too hot.

    das

  26. Campbell’s Chunky Chili: Hot and Spicy. But it was neither. I added my own chopped onions, tomatoes, and some diced avocados. Meh.

  27. Das: I’ve got two heating pads going, so that is where my kitties land. I check the cats occasionally to see if they are still breathing 😀 .
    I’m doing the chili thing here too. Chili and cold weather, comfort food. Yummmm. I made a coca cola cake to go with my chili. Double Yum.

    Mr. M.: “Every time you swing your phone, it delivers an audio bite of a new, quirky Japanese phrase.” Do you literally have to swing it? What if it slips?

    T

  28. With phrases like that filed away, methinks your next trip to Tokyo isn’t going to be about the food…

    😉

    Joe Mallozzi, Writer, Producer, and International Playboy…I’m gonna go update your wiki page right now! 😀

    das

  29. If you’re going for canned chili, do Hormel – they have two hot ones, one with Tabasco, one without – I prefer the one without, but it’s harder to find (and not quite as hot). The reason I like the latter is because there are few, if any, additives – it’s just meat and veggies and some identifiable seasonings. I also add my own tomatoes, onions, cheese…whatever I like…and I find it very tasty. But homemade is always better…and so easy to make…so, get cookin’, buddy! 😀

    das

  30. Yeah, you have to swing it. Simply shaking it won’t do. And, yes, I’ve almost dropped it twice.

    Das, thanks for updating my vital stats.

  31. @ Tammy Dixon – I have this image of Joe walking down the street, wanking his phone just to get it to say something, and everyone looking at him like he’s some sort of deviant. 🙂

    @ Joe – Try this ‘salsa’:

    Diced avocado
    Diced tomato
    Diced onion
    Chopped fresh jalapeño (with or without seeds – depending on how hot you want it)
    Chopped fresh cilantro
    garlic
    lime juice
    dash of olive oil
    cumin
    salt
    kalamata olives (optional)

    I didn’t put amounts, since it’s all according to taste, though I usually use one tomato to one avocado, and judge the rest from there. It’s delicious with tortilla chips, on tacos, on chili…or all by itself, like a salad.

    And now I’m hungry again. 😛 (AND I have all the ingredients to make it! I think I will…it’s usually better after it sits for a day, too!)

    das

  32. Did a late lunch today so it looks like it’s going to be a late dinner, especially since I’m looking to catch the Survivor season finale tonight.

  33. @ Tammy (again!) – Never heard of a coca-cola cake. So I went here: http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/heritage/recipes.html

    I never knew you could cook with Coke. I can’t, since I can’t have the caffeine, but it all does sound quite interesting. How’s the cake taste?

    @ Joey – So, am I to understand that you have to swing this phone, like a little girly swings her purse? Or more like how a tennis player swings a racket?

    das

  34. Das: too funny! It reminds me of the Bluetooth’s for cell phones. They look like Borg implants to me. I see people all the time with these “Borg implants” and they seem like they are talking to themselves. Times change.
    Do you use semi-sweet, powdered coco or just a hunk of unsweetened chocolate in your chili? I use 1T or so of Peanut butter in my chili. Gives it a hearty flavor and boosts the protein content for food phobic hubby. (I always hide grated zucchini, so he gets a little bit of veggies).

    Have fun tonight guys/gals. We are preparing movie night! That means me curled up under an electric throw with my hubby.

    T

  35. @ Tammy – I usually use Mexican chocolate, this stuff: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abuelita

    As I said, I usually use that but this time I was in a rush and didn’t feel like breaking up the chunks, so used Ghirardelli 86% chocolate instead. Sometimes I’ll use Toll House morsels (Nestle, too) – about a handful, not too much. I also have mole sauce (mole poblano), though I usually don’t use that since it’s more than just chocolate, and can change the taste of the chili too much.

    Well, I have Mr. Das firing up Horatio Hornblower: The Even Chance (The Duel), so better run! Comics will have to wait! 😀

    das

  36. Woah what’s going on here? We have an impromptu Das Joe-Chat a-happenin’ here? I’m shocked. SHOCKED.

    Well, not that shocked.

    @ Arctic Goddess: I’d love to drop by if I have the time! Still too money-less to actually buy tickets, but if I pass through that area I might stop in and look around the tickets-not-required area. 🙂

  37. @ pg15 – Seems Joe likes chatting up old ladies as much as he likes chatting up cute Asian chicks. Too bad you are neither. 😉

    (Yer still cute, though…and I mean that in a totally non-creepy, non-cougarish kinda way.)

    das

  38. Also watching Survivor finale. this has got to be overall the most pathetic group yet. Russell is an ass but he’s also in control. I do so hope he doesnt win though.

  39. He was annoying in the beginning but I now have a grudging respect for the guy. I’d vote for him. But, then again, I like villains.

    If Brett makes it to finale, he wins. If any of the other two besides Russell, they win. Alas, I don’t think Russell is all that popular.

  40. I’d have more respect for Russell if his opponants were more than 40 watt bulbs in a 100 watt socket. Now that Brent lost immunity he’s a goner. I’m not liking any of the remainder. though for playing the game the best russell wins hands down

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