Back to School

It feels as though September has really snuck up on us. We slogged through the heat of August and then — Bam! — Along comes Labour Day and the temperature drops, the air gets autumn fresh, and we’re suddenly back to school.

The end of summer used to be a lingering time for me, where I suddenly realized that the unlimited time I’d had at the start of summer was soon to end, and that I’d better make good use of it before school started, darn it! The smell of the season (back to school sales) was a smell of excitement and urgency as each day ticked slowly past. But not this year.

It’s a little alarming, as a number of things that I’d hoped to accomplish over the summer have just slipped past me. I was promising a friend that we’d arrange to have a get-together over the Labour Day weekend, and all of a sudden the Labour Day weekend was here.

But it has been a busy month of getting to know a new job, and driving to finish The Young City. And September is going to be an exciting month as well, what with Erin’s book coming out on September 17, and planning for her Maritime tour in November. I can at least be assured that the time that has passed me by hasn’t been wasted. But where has the time gone?

In discussing my Saturday evening fun, I neglected to mention an excellent new chicken sage recipe that Erin tried out successfully. And I also should have mentioned that we rented, at Dan’s request, a DVD of Challenge of the Superfriends, and I endured one half hour which, intriguingly, showed the origins of Wonder Woman, Superman and the Green Lantern. All in one half hour. And there was a story attached too.

Oi Vey! I realize that the cartoons were intended for children, but they were still enough to make me want to go screaming from the house. You see, Lex Luthor had invented a time remote control, enabling the Legion of Doom to go back in time and prevent the creation of three of the famous Superfriends, leaving the remaining Superfriends in dire straits (except they’re not - the present without Superman doesn’t seem that different than with him — I guess the other Superfriends took up the slack, making him look sort of useless). They manage to kidnap the Superfriends, set half aside for future torment (a.k.a. escape opportunities) only to have that half discover the tapes the Legion of Doom made of their plans (which they’d conveniently left lying around) and put things to rights (even though, at this point, they don’t remember who Wonder Woman, Superman and the Green Lantern are).

But here’s the gotcha: how do they put things to rights? Well, our helpful melodramatic narrator says, and I quote (or, more accurately, paraphrase): “using their own various methods of time travel, the Superfriends went back in time before the Legion of Doom’s manipulations!”

Yes, they got their time travel devices from the same spot as Lex Luthor picked up his: at Time Machines ‘R’ Us… or possibly Walmart, which has everything else in stock, so why not? Everybody has a time machine here on Earth! It’s worse than Faction Paradox.

True, the thirty minute episodic length meant that the plot couldn’t unfurl so much as be glossed over at three times normal speed, bursting upon opening with a giant cartoon sproing!!!, but still… Some stories you compress to fit the time constraints around you. Others you realize are an impossible task, and you either make the time to tell your stories, or you don’t tell your stories at all.

That episode of Superfriends was one childhood memory that I sort of wish had stayed a memory.

Oh, well. But I still have Rufus Xavier Sarsparilla pleasantly stuck in my head, so that’s a bonus.

I’m finally reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and enjoying it immensely. I’m looking forward to reviewing it here, especially given my earlier fears that the editors have gone gun-shy on Ms. Rowling. My initial thoughts? Well, earlier I said that two-thirds of Ms. Rowling’s bloat was the result of her trying to top herself, and that definitely holds true with this book. However, she could still have used the attention of a good, strong editor; even at the start, the book is about 10% longer than it needs to be, in my opinion. And some passages which should sing do drag a little bit.

In other book news, it’s now well over nine months since I last heard anything from Groundwood Books on Rosemary and Time, and that’s a little discouraging (though not as discouraging as an outright rejection. Rosemary celebrated her second birthday this past month. Prospective writers take note: this is very clearly a sloooow process.

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