Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday waffles

The world on Wednesday is "business as usual" -- meaning, orderly chaos. Since I'm still blogging in the vacuum, I'll restrict myself to an update, and let you get back to your life!

If you've been following the CreateSpace situation in the last couple of days, you'll be interested to know that we are STILL WAITING for any intelligent response from Customer Service. At this point, we've been waiting for six days, with a jammed, gridlocked shopping cart and no ability to publish a new project -- with Christmas looming just weeks away, and the whole CreateSpace-Amazon "process" taking a month!

For the backstory on this:

As Queen Victoria was heard to say on more than one occasion, "We are not amused."

We'll keep you posted.

And speaking of being posted: it just hit us (like the proverbial load of bricks) why the USPS parcel rates have shot up ... the carbon tax applied to airlines. When you ship a person (say, 60kg) from the US or UK to Aus or NZ (say, 10,000km), the tax converts to around A$275. That's A$6.25 per kilo of weight, per one-way trip. Parcels make one-way trips. And this is pretty much EXACTLY what the USPS price rise measured.


Okay: grin and bear it -- it's for the planet. So -- so long as the megabucks raised by the carbon tax are spent on planting trees, restoring river systems, cleaning up waterways, enforcing "carbon reinjection" in the oil and coal-to-liquid industries ... fair enough. Get a Mel Keegan novel shipped to Australia, and you probably paid to plant a couple of trees. And that's cool. Puts the additional cost in a different, more acceptable light.

(The other possibility is that the carbon tax funds will be used to prop up corrupt governments and mega corporations which are too rich to begin with. This is not so cool, but only time will tell which way this particular barrow-load of manure is going to hit the ventilators.)

In other news, AUSTRALIA opened overnight ... and the critics are just short of getting out the pistols and taking pot-shots at each other: they're so widely divided, the movie is either phenomenal or rubbish, depending on who you listen to.

I'll have to wait till I see it. It opens here momentarily; the critics' preview was last week, and Aussie critics were just as divided as the Americans. Here's the best roundup of the US critical voice:,26278,24709251-5013560,00.html

By the sounds of it -- and being cautious and charitable -- AUSTRALIA looks like it's been fractionally overcooked, with some CGI effects here and there that don't quite work, and if you don't like Nicole Kidman, you're going to find 165 minutes of her tough to endure. To balance all that out, Hugh Jackman is verrrrry nice eye candy, and from what I've seen of the trailers, there's a lot more CGI stuff that does work than doesn't ... and the scenery, panoramic and color saturated as it is, will be advantaged by the big screen.

I'll hold my tongue on the subject till I've seen it.

Last note for today: We're putting the finishing touches to the 2009 Mel Keegan Calendar, which will be produced be -- NOT Zazzle, because is way too expensive on calendars. I'll be posting again with a "show and tell" about this project, which should be available for Christmas ... Lulu being a helluva lot faster than either CreateSpace (who don't do calendars anyway) and Zazzle.

Ciao for now,

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