A mysterious plague strikes the tiny community of Switchcreek Tennessee, killing a third of its inhabitants and transforming most of the rest into one of three mutations: giant grey-skinned Argos, wine-colored seal-like Betas, and obese Charlies.  For the handful of individuals unaffected by the bizarre outbreak, their apparent good luck proves both a blessing and a curse as they suddenly become a minority in a town changed overnight.  Nicknamed Skips, some choose to stay and continue their lives alongside altered friends and family while others choose to abandon Switchcreek in favor a more normal existence elsewhere.

Paxton Abel Martin is one such Skip.  Only fourteen when the disease known as Transcription Divergence Sydrome (TDS) wreaked havoc on his hometown, he elected to flee, leaving behind his widowed father and best friends.  Now, fifteen years later, Paxton returns to the community he turned his back on to attend the funeral of one of those best friends, Jo Lynn Whitehall.  It’s a homecoming unlike anything Paxton expected as he re-connects with people from his past, learns more about the still-unexplained phenomena that struck the town, and uncovers a conspiracy that may well have cost his old friend her life.

This book surprised me – in a very good way.  The title and cover art suggest supernatural horror, something along the lines of the varied “a town possessed” sub-genre, and while The Devil’s Alphabet does possess Southern Gothic elements, its inventive premise actually crosses several genres.  There are certainly aspects of the novel that could be classified as horror, some even fantasy, but the overriding feel of The Devil’s Alphabet is overwhelmingly science fiction. Everything from the mutations to the various theories floated for the TDS outbreak (including one wild parallel universe-hopping virus hypothesis) firmly roots the novel in the world of scifi, and its climactic military quarantine echoes the very best of rural alien invasion tales.  And, like all great science fiction, The Devil’s Alphabet offers up a scenario that challenges not only our imaginations, but some of our preconceived notions as well, particularly as they apply to our ethical standards of family and communal obligation.

As readers, we’re asked to set aside our ingrained biases and consider certain moral issues from the standpoint of the citizens of Switchcreek.  One of the most controversial is the subject of birth control and its polarizing effects on a community in which spontaneous asexual reproduction in young beta girls has become the norm.  And what’s fascinating is not so much the debate between the adults, but the reaction of those second-generation betas for whom our socially-accepted ideals of “a normal childhood” is as alien to them as their peculiar physical presence would be to us.  The book also tackles the moral implications of drug use and distribution, its consequences not as cut and dried as those afterschool specials would have you believe, especially not in a town full of pariahs whose sole commodity is a powerful psychotropic known as “vintage” secreted from the bodies of Charlies.

Daryl Gregory creates a nuanced and ambiguous world with no easy answers and characters as inherently sympathetic as they are outwardly grotesque. Although the residents of Switchcreek have been physically changed, they remain, at heart, the same people they were before the plague, which is what makes Paxton’s journey so incredibly poignant.  His best friend Deke is still Deke, only an Argo now living every moment hyper-aware of his new body’s ability to inflict inadvertent damage and death.  His father remains the same contentious fire and brimstone preacher he’s always been, except that now he struggles as a victim of the hallucinogenic chemical he excretes. And yet given the heavy toll paid, both in terms of self-imposed isolation and loved ones lost, some have found atypical ways of adjusting to the change – individuals like Tommy Shields, a former egocentric ne’er do well who has seemingly turned his life around, or former church lady Aunt Rhonda, who, as town mayor and leader of the Charlie clade, has transformed herself into Switchcreek’s most powerful player.

There’s great depth here and even though I was initially frustrated by the lack of drive in our protagonist’s search for answers surrounding the suspicious death of Jo Lynn, eventually that mystery became less important to me than the characters, their stories, and the community of Switchcreek as a whole. Still, the reveal of the circumstances surrounding Jo Lynn’s death, when it eventually comes, proves both satisfying and horrifying precisely because of the weight and import of those aforementioned elements.

The only other issue I had with the novel was the fact that the Transcription Divergence Syndrome, while a catalyst for the story and discussed at length throughout, is ultimately never revealed.   Was it a quantum virus?  The wrath of God?  Or was it something else?  The author doesn’t provide the answer.  In retrospect, however, in a novel filled with thought-provoking ambiguities and a conspicuous lack of simple black and white solutions, it’s strangely appropriate.

Okay, those were my preliminary thoughts.  What did you all think?  Start posting your comments on The Devil’s Alphabet along with any questions you may have for author Daryl Gregory.

A little something that crossed my desk today.

Looks painful, no?


Zoomeister writes: “I came across an interesting link recently. I know you’ve answered something similar last month in regards to the upcoming season 2, but this was written at the end of 2009 and was written before the first season was finished. What’s your take each of the points raised here and which of them do you feel has been addressed since then?


Answer: Same author seven months later –


Zoomeister also writes: “That got me wondering… which season of Stargate (SG-1, SGA and SGU included) currently holds the record for the number of missions undertaken through the Stargate?”

Answer: I don’t know.  I’d suggest going through the episode guide on Gateworld and doing the count.

Escyos writes: “Would there possibly be an alternate reality episode where we meet the ancients who came aboard destiny in said reality?”

Answer: Sure, it’s possible.

Escyos also writes: “Were there any uber-awesome ideas for SGA that never saw the light of day?”

Answer: http://josephmallozzi.com/2008/09/30/september-30-2008-an-au-season-6/

Escyos also writes: “What peice of technology from Stargate would you like to own?”

Answer: Working time jumping puddle jumper.

Trevor writes: “So seasons nine and ten are mostly an addendum to the rest of SG1. It is what it is. There’s no reason to so virulently defend them.”

Answer: Yep, I’ve been downright insufferable with all of my virulent defending SG-1’s ninth and tenth seasons.  You must be downright overwhelmed. Also, regarding your opinion that “Exodus, Decent, Moebuis and even Lockdown are all vastly superior to the “fun” episodes on your list”, I think you may have misread the title of my blog entry.  It was “MY Top 10 Favorite Stargate Episodes” no “Trevor’s Top 10 Favorite Stargate Episodes”.  It’s an easy mistake to make.  P.S. Kudos on working “fecklessly” into your rant.

steph writes: “On a completely different topic: after much slow poking I have finally managed to finish an entire children’s story. It’s fantasy inasmuch as I’ve included one fantastical character and aimed at early elementary age. My search for how to get it published, or even looked at, has left me overwhelmed . Do you have any advice?”

Answer: Alas, my experience in prose fiction is extremely limited.  I’d suggest picking up a list of literary agencies, finding those willing to read unsolicited submissions, then sending them a query letter to gauge their interest.

Gabriele writes: “Will we see an episode set for the most on Earth in season 2 of “Stargate Universe”?”

Answer: Yes…in a weird way.

Randomness writes: “Personally I see Lost City as one of the top Stargate episodes of all time.”

Answer: Okay, but my list was made up of only those episodes I scripted.

DARSFoF writes: “But I am disappointed by the fact that Heroes (pt1 and pt2) didn’t make the list.”

Answer: Didn’t write it.  It did make my list of Top 10 Favorite Robert Cooper episodes.

Fargate One writes: “Anything to say about Bill Dow as an actor and the fun? to write for his character Dr Lee?”

Answer: Yes, absolutely.  Bill Dow is a terrific actor and a great guy, a real pleasure to work with.

Shiny writes: “I am still making my way through Masked; I am about half through, Thug was so good I could not sleep, kept having dreams about that big lug battling his evil nemesis; it had a nice Sin City vibe. […]  Question; any chance you and the other writers will bring these characters to life on screen? […] Or to take them into graphic novel form?”

Answer: Don’t know.

for the love of Beckett writes: “Is one of your decisions a joint-decision with Paul?”

Answer: Nope.

Major D. Davis writes: “1. Is Will Waring directing Visitation?

2. Is Peter DeLuise directing Alliances?

3. Is Andy Mikita directing Seizure?”

Answers: Yes, yes, and no.

39 thoughts on “August 16, 2010: The Devil’s Alphabet, by Daryl Gregory

  1. Congrats Joe on your successful time machine! It’s nice to be back in April again where it’s not 100 degrees outside.

  2. Hello Joe.

    I think the episode of the series with the most trips through the gate would be “The Ties That Bind”. I forget how many trips they took, but it was a lot, and that little quest made for one of the FUNNIEST episodes ever! 😉

    Vala accusing a senator of insufficient manhood… Classic.

    So how has everyone been doing back at the homestead? I hope everyone is well.

    Best Wishes,


  3. A little something that crossed my desk today…

    Looks painful, no?

    Which reminds me… I have to make a dental appt… 🙁

  4. The Devil’s Alphabet, by Daryl Gregory

    I thought the Devil’s Alphabet was a very entertaining book! Because of the title, I thought the devil had something to do with the changes that struck the town of Switchcreek. I was more than half way through when I made a connection with the alphabet part: A = Argos, B = Betas, C = Charlies. The descriptions of these three Changed groups painted a great picture, wild as it was! Sure wish this book had simple quick sketches of the three groups. I’d love to actually see them. I felt sorry for them too. The description of the town and Paxton’s thoughts were very well done also.

    There were a lot of questions in this book and I’m not sure they were ever answered. Number one was what caused the disease? I’ll vote for aliens or a virus from a parallel universe. I would have liked a definite answer, but I understand why there is not one. Other questions for me were:

    Was Aunt Rhonda good or bad? Is she really taking care of them or does she have a personal agenda to get rich off of them?

    Paxton finally breaking into JoLynn’s computer (I was sure the password was “Paxton”!) to find…what? Aunt Rhonda making lots of money? I didn’t see any answers there.

    The government seriously acting like they were going to exterminate them all…but not.

    The twins running away and hiding…but why?

    Zeke and his wife were main characters…then suddenly not (if you know what I mean!).

    The big kidnapping is stopped…why?

    Looks like Paxton is going to stay…but then he leaves.

    The twins and their mother…a cover up?

    I don’t think Paxton elected to leave town many years ago. I think his strick preacher father made him go after finding out about his relationship with Zeke and JoLynn.
    But I must say this book had some very dramatic turns. I found myself “running” through the pages (reading as fast as I could) after Zeke and Donna’s shocking confrontation with the military. (OMG, did that just happen?!!) Then Paxton running through the woods at night, hallucinating a meeting with the dead JoLynn on his way to the Betas’ mobile home Co-Op.

    This book was jammed packed full of creatures, mystery, and suspense. I really enjoyed it. The ending seemed to start another mystery. Boys? Me thinks we need a sequel Mr. Gregory!

    Questions for Daryl Gregory to follow.

  5. Gabriele writes: “Will we see an episode set for the most on Earth in season 2 of “Stargate Universe”?”

    Answer: Yes…in a weird way.

    That screams alternate reality story. Looking forward to it.

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  6. Let’s see these two lists in this blog’s future:
    Your favorite Stargate episodes regardless of scriptor and the best missed opportunities for stories (in other words what was thrown out and never seen but discussed within the writers room). You guys do have a room, don’t you?

  7. And you’ve don’t a top 10 RCC list… And you’ve done a top ten of the eps you wrote… How bout a top ten of ALL the stagate eps! :). Pretty please. 😉

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  8. Really? I get kudos for “fecklessly”? Well, then you get massive kudos yourself for working “downright” into two consecutive sentences. That’s just downright awesome.

  9. Hey, Joe.

    First off, much thanks for the link. Good read and good find (though sadly, there seems to be bits of paranoid delusion in the comments section).

    I got a couple more questions.

    1.) Even though he’s busy with Sanctuary, could you guys have Martin Wood (and sadly, now Coop) come back and freelance for SGU once in a while, like you had Martin Gero do for Earth and Lost last season (in fact, it would be cool to see him back once in a while too)? BTW, I think Lost was one of the best-recieved eps for fans last season, next to Space and Time.

    In my head, I have it set up as Gero and Coop writing at least two eps each per season (again, like Gero did last season) and Wood directing at least one ep per season. Schedule-freindly stints. Something that won’t interfere with with their Sanctuary schedule and whatever Coop is going to be doing.

    What do you think? Could you talk it over with the rest of the guys?

    2.) Do you have any thoughts on why Lost (the TV show) won the Emmy award for Outstanding Drama Series and Battlestar Galactica didn’t? If I can recall, Lost was the first sci-fi series to actually win that. The only thing besides effects that BSG got nominated for was music and I don’t think Bear McCreary even won that (which was ****ing criminal).

    Now I’ll admit, I sort of like BSG a little bit more than Lost (though I’m huge a fan of both), but I also think BSG genuinely stands up with Lost in terms of quality. Do you have any thoughts on why Lost won and BSG didn’t?

    And once again, much thanks for your answers. I highly appreciate them.

  10. “Really? I get kudos for “fecklessly”? Well, then you get massive kudos yourself for working “downright” into two consecutive sentences. That’s just downright awesome.”

    No, I insist, you’re the awesome one given your ability to maintain coherence in the midst of a near-hysterical tirade about some episodes you didn’t care for. Like a rabid monkey riding a unicycle, you should be applauded for your efforts.

  11. PS Joe. JoLynn was not a Skip. She turned into a Beta and had her Beta twins who had a passion for survival – at any cost. 🙂

  12. Hey Joe!

    Wanted to run something past you. Have you ever been served up any of the top 3 menu items on this list at one of the Michelin Star restaurants in Japan you’ve visited?


    Ooo, I walked in to the middle of snark off. This may need popcorn. Shame I have to go again. Behave yourself young man. Just because I’m not here doesn’t mean I’m not getting reports on your behaviour. 😉

  13. More evil mailbag questions: (mwahahaha!)
    1. Did Todd’s darts beam up the ZPMs he stole from the replicators or (more likely) did he beam down troops who took them?
    2. What would you do with said time travelling jumper?

  14. First, please check Baron Destructo’s email. You have my permission to post the emailed photo to the blog.

    Second, today’s concept art reminds me of an arthroscope. Will compare it to my surgeon’s on Wed. if not under general anesthesia. BTW, this is the same orthopedist who is the SG1 fan.

  15. Sorry I have been absent for the past few days (blame it on the pain medicine) but have now caught up on all the blog posts and comments.

    @Joe: Nicknames for Linda: Temp could still work. Hey newbie also works well. Not original, but works. Oh course, not to steal thunder from ArticGoddess, you could call her Goddess if she didn’t think that was creepy.

    As far as your 4 life-changing decisions–wow. I have found that sometimes there are decisions in life where you have to choose between bad and worse. I noticed with my decision with Patrick my pros and cons column didn’t help much until the situation just deteriorated and while there were great consequences in the cons column, all the things in the pros column of leaving him in the public school system pretty much disappeared except for: Can ride the bus to school, or is within walking distance if my car should ever break down, or it’s only a mile away from home. The cons column is filled with so many “what ifs”, so many uncertain factors. But the pro list became so pathetic, the choice was jumping off the cliff. I’m sorry that you are having to deal with 4 at 1 time. That’s a lot of change.

    My husband always jokes with me when I put on something from SG-1 or Atlantis or SGU when I say, “This is one of my favorites.” He rolls his eyes and tells me, “You say that about ALL of them.” I wouldn’t be able to produce a top 10 list of my favorite, even if I broke it down for each season. I maybe, if I really tried hard, maybe have a top 10 list of episodes I just thought were “eh.” Didn’t love them but didn’t hate them. Considering how many episodes were written over all these years, only having 10 or less that were “eh” is pretty remarkable for a series.

    Regarding Patrick, today was his first day at the new place. He was a little tentative about it being a new place. I was more nervous than he was. I am so used to having to hand over a “Patrick Guide Book” every year on the first day of ever leaving him anywhere with anybody. I stayed until I felt like he was going to be okay with my leaving and left. That was a long drive to be doing that twice a day after being used to the “can be dropped off by the bus” but I’ll adjust. They’ll be testing him over the next week or two to come up with an educational plan for him, but I was more relaxed that they actually heard him him speaking. When I asked him, “Are you done?” and he responded, “I am” they heard it. When he was leaving the building, he said, “I’m done.” When he talks it sounds as if it was someone who was deaf is speaking, but all these years, school insisted they never heard him talk (the bus drivers did, the people at the supermarket checkout line did, but they insisted, nope, no words), I felt great. And he has the same number of kids in there at least when I left as he did in his regular classroom, so they cannot hide behind that excuse. Two thumbs up!

  16. Looks like some sort of extraction tool, to possibly remove an alien technology/lifeform from Chloe/Rush’s brains(?) Which would mean it hopefully would go up their nose and not their….well you know.

    5 pages left in Downfall and I have no idea where it is going. I’m still stuck on the fact that there is a mad scientist living underneath Science World, it’s never going to be the same again Joe, Thanks.

  17. Joe!
    I arrived home today to find my copy of ‘Masked’ waiting for me, along with House of Suns and another 2 Alastair Reynolds books – late, I know, but at least I’ll be all prepared for September BOTM! Do you ever worry about how much influence you have over people on the other side of the world? All good of course!

    I’m off to enjoy an afternoon of reading 🙂

  18. Escyos also writes: “What peice of technology from Stargate would you like to own?”

    Answer: Working time jumping puddle jumper.

    Oh, heck yeah.

  19. Don’t hog the popcorn.

    The first episode I watched of SG-1 was the one (I can never remember titles) where Daniel and Vala are in that tomb like structure and the walls and ceiling start to cave in on them. I literally started watching from that part. Had no idea what was going on. Hooked me right there.

    Same thing happened when I started to watch Burn Notice. I watched the last ten minutes of an episode. Hooked. I happen to like season nine and ten of SG-1. Season one was a little shaky, but aren’t all first seasons of a show?

    How are the dogs doing? Any progress with the stem cell treatment? More pics are always appreciated.

  20. Not sure if you’ve addressed this before, but I’ve been watching the dvd commentaries for SGU 1.5 and Alaina Huffman mentions that she (TJ) never did get to use the communication stones to visit Earth. Will this change in season 2?

    Also, any chance that Young’s wife Emily or Wray’s girlfriend/partner Sharon might use the communication stones to visit Destiny?

  21. I loved the Devil’s Alphabet, it was a random grab off the new release shelf at my library a while back.

    I actually liked the fact that we didn’t find out the cause of the mutations, by the time the book ended, I didn’t think it mattered anymore.

    I wish, wish, wish I could write secondary characters with the depth that Daryl Gregory did in this story. In my quest to make them interesting, I always lose the balance and they become more than they should, taking over and needing to be slapped down again. Each of the affected townspeople had just the right amount of backstory and participation and relevence to the events, a perfect balance, in my opinion.

  22. At risk of using a cliché, I have to say “The Devil’s Alphabet” was a fascinating book. I didn’t think I would like it as well as I did, but it sucked me in pretty quickly. The writing was beautiful and full of little surprises. At the bottom of page 262, this bit grabbed me the most: “Someone from the crowd asked what kind of survey, and Markle then introdued the firld team leader, a man named Eric Preisswek who looked much too young to have both an MD and a PhD in moledcular epidemiology. [b]Nice shoes, though. They looked Italian[/b].” (emphasis mine)

    I admit, I laughed out loud at that little word-bomb.

    I’d like to ask Mr. Gregory if the book was influenced at all by the writings of Flannery O’Connor. The evocation of Southern life, the grotesqueness of the clades, the depictions of the struggle between good and bad, and even the questions left unanswered except in the minds of the readers, reminded me of her writing.

    There was a certain kind of church lady from my childhood that I used to hate — smart, wily, manipulative, always one step ahead, and sometimes downright overwhelming— so I thought I was going to hate Aunt Rhonda. As it turns out, she became my favorite character. She reminded me a lot of my own very Southern aunts, except for the criminal part, that is. They would never have stood for that.

    I thought the book was a pretty canny examination of how conspiracy theories and panic spread in the face of the unknown, and how human beings persist in their struggles to survive and live a normal life despite any circumstances. What happened to Deke and Donna was very moving.

    One other Southernism: I have to give props to Mr. Gregory for spelling “baloney” the way we say it, instead of the orignal froufrou “balogna”. That gave rise to another word-bomb: “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Possum”. That one made me laugh, too.

    All in all, it was an enjoyable read, and I’ll definitely look for other Gregory books.

  23. @PBMom

    I’m so glad Patrick’s first day went well. Pulling our son out of public school was the best decision we ever made.

  24. Wow, Those Ancients sure came up with some fascinating names for their medical instruments. I’m sure not even Colonel Sheppard would have named them any better.

    Also… Working time jumping puddle jumper??? Why not a city with that and much much more? (fully equiped with 3 working ZPM’s ofcourse)

  25. @Okay, but my list was made up of only those episodes I scripted.

    How come Incursion wasn’t listed? Ratings may not of shown it but it’s probably one of the best episodes you’ve wrote.

  26. Poop. I missed all the fun last night. 🙁

    Mr. Das went to the hand doc last night – he’s out of work until next week! Woo! Mebbe now he’ll get his Mallozziesque desk cleaned up. 😉

    Afterwards it was dinner at the in-laws, the ride home, and right into bedsies. This morning it was taking old lady Marbles to the vet because she had blood in her urine. She’s home, eating like a little piggycat, so I guess we’ll just play it one day at a time. Now…off to work.

    I hope I can get to reading the rest of Masked before the BotM club…I really wish you had waited until October or November…I’m up to my eyeballs right now with stuff, and can only find time for short bursts of reading. But I know it’s not always about me (surprising, isn’t it? 😉 ), so if I can’t, I’ll just contribute what I can (or get Mr. Das involved, since he’s breezing right through the book).

    Have a good one, sir. 🙂


  27. I am reading I think a story a night in Masked, finally got to Downfall….amazing! Loved the twist at the very end that I just did not see coming! When the story started I was trying to keeping up with the new world in the story, then I finally caught up and was racing ahead of Downfall already sad for him before he figured out his backstory, but the twist at the end was a kick in the head!

    Yet another story that I’d love to see come to life, as a weekly Syfy anthology series based on the book? Bueno, awesome work!

  28. Where are my manners?

    For Steph:

    There are a couple great options for publishing your children’s book:

    How to submit to Random House, Knopf, Delacorte:

    Arthur Levine, (Harry Potter US publisher) imprint of Scholastic Books

    Lee and Low Children’s Books:

    Or may I suggest adopting the new business model and self pub? Check out this article in Wall St Journal; you can pub through Amazon or Barnes directly, keep 75% of profit, instead of only 15% by going through a traditional publisher; you have to do more work to promote your book, good if you have the mettle to market yourself:


  29. Major D. Davis wrote – @das – What part of Broken ties ticked you off?

    *tousles Major D’s hair*

    Ooooo! Yer just TOO cute! So sweet, so innocent. 😉

    What part ticked me off? The dead Wraith part, that’s what part! (Well, a little more than that – like the fact that Wraith should know by now not to trust humans, esp. humans associated with Lanteans. Instead, they just keep falling into the same old traps, like an entire species of Wile E. Coyotes… but that’s a whole different rant of mine.)

    I would have liked a less predictable ending, that’s all. I would have preferred a different fate for the Wraith – perhaps a hinted-at-but-not-shown fate, such as having to answer to his hive for his failure. But more than that, I would have liked to see a change in Ronon – one where he was able to understand the Wraith on a different level – I would have liked a bit more soul-searching, I suppose, instead of just more ‘I hate Wraith’ crap. (By ‘understand’ I don’t mean to make him more understanding, or sympathetic towards the Wraith, just a bit more aware how much like Wraith HE was – much like Sheppard was forced to acknowledge in Common Ground.)

    However, my biggest disappointment was that we were not given a clear explanation why Wraith have worshippers. Some are turned, like Ronon, while others choose to be worshippers. Okay – I get that – but why do Wraith really need them? Are they simply used for a tactical advantage (as suggested in the episode)? Or are they like pets – something with which the Wraith can amuse themselves, allowed to remain underfoot because they stroke their masters’ illimitable egos?

    This is what I really wanted to know, and it really wasn’t clearly answered in the episode. (Personally, I would like to think of worshippers as pets, stroking their masters’ egos…but that’s just me.)


  30. Hello!!!

    La forme? ahh me revoila=) désolé mais je n’ai pas pu me connécter car jai eu mon examen de conduite..qui ne sais pas très bien passé =S

    J’espere que vous ça va bien, je repasse demain. Gros bissousssss!!! =)

  31. I wonder who’s going to use the medical instruments on who. 😛 Another “Divided”-type surgery?

  32. @Joe and Trevor

    LOL…… Trevor… your kinda brutal there man. I mean… I know Joe likes to have freedom of speech on his blog…. but when you come back just to attack and make fun of Joe (who did nothing wrong.. it appears that you are just a disgruntled fan whos needlessly taking your anger out on Joe), that crosses the line IMO.


    I guess if I was obsessed with wrait 😉 I would feel otherwise. For me it was a fun action packed episode that had some crazy twists, a great plot, and some superb character moments. 🙂

  33. Oh and Joe…. You have helped me excel in school…

    Today I was in media productions class, and the guys was going over the basics of production (pre, actual and post production)…

    When he asked what happens in pre production everyone was like “uhhh they prepare”… And then I raised my hand and listed all the elements of pre production(and post) that I mostly learned from following this blog. The teacher and everyone else were amazed that I actual knew about the different aspects of production. I told my parents.. “finally, all those hours of watching stargate and following it online have paid off” 😉

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  34. for the love of Beckett writes: “Is one of your decisions a joint-decision with Paul?”

    Joe answered: Nope.

    Aw…. Was hoping one of those hairy decisions was in expectation of a good thing/project that you and Paul were working on. Then it would have been something to look forward to and you wouldn’t have been making the decision alone.

    Eeesh, four decisions. And it’s early this year. Isn’t it usually around winter hiatus? The best you can do is to do right by the people involved, and to do right according to your own principles & heart. Then you’ll be able to sleep at night.

    If, like some wise person here has already pointed out, a decision turned out to be a mistake, you can always say, “Man, I messed up. Time for a do over!” Even that generates a lot of good will. Redemption is not only good for stories, but for real people, too. The ones who really care about you will still be around when the dust settles. And you haven’t shooed us away yet. The blog family is still here. 😀

  35. @ Major D. Davis – Yeah. I know I am one of just a few who want very specific answers about the Wraith, and when we don’t get exactly what we want, we pout. However, once in a while they throw (well, threw) us a bone, like nippleless chests! 😀 Woo! That one kept us busy for a while. 🙂

    Speaking of bugs…

    I had a dilemma last week. I discovered that my praying mantis living in the mint was sneaking up at night and eating my black swallowtail caterpillars in the parsley. 🙁 So, I moved the parsley to a different part of the yard, and so far, so good. Two are about to emerge as butterflies, and there are about 5 or 6 other fat ones ready to go into the pupa stage. I have some eggs and wee little larvae, too. But now I’m worried about my praying mantis…I hope he has other bugs to eat (I think it’s a he ’cause he’s smaller than the big one in my sage). I called a nearby butterfly house, and they said I could bring the caterpillars and pupae up, but that might be a bit of a chore. I just hope they make it okay…I worry about my bugs…both the real ones, and the fictional ones.



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