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By Samuel Stoddard

May 1998

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May 31, 1998

The two best answers to the walking stick vs. baton question show a distinct walking stick preference:

From regular Stephen K.: "Hey, walking sticks rule. I mean, what's not better than a stick that can walk around?? Those suckers are pretty rare these days, whereas batons are a dime a dozen . . . only problem is making sure it doesn't get away. If you put it on a leash, they're lots of fun, but they don't do much more than walk around, so they don't make very good pets."

First-time writer Paul A. has a distinctly more violent rationale: "A walking stick. Definitely. I mean, the potential is endless. Heavy head for blunt trauma injuries. Long body for hiding a sword in. Now, imagine coming up against a mugger carrying only a baton. Wouldn't you rather have a walking stick?"

Today's question is this: "Toothpaste brands such as Aquafresh and Mentadent have multiple colors of paste divided up such that, when you squirt it out, you get some of each type. Should this be done for shampoo?"

May 29, 1998

Just a quick note today. Don't Throw a Brick Straight Up opened just now. A Swedish Chef dialect was added to The Dialectizer last night. New Computer Stupidities went up this morning. New Book-A-Minute SF/F condensations are on their way at the end of the weekend. (Hey, I'm on a roll!)

May 28, 1998

Although this probably won't mean anything to anyone but me, I'll expound anyway. The Dialectizer made it into a local newspaper, printed in Dover, New Hampshire. This is the second time RinkWorks has been featured in it, and it's quite a thrill. The specific publication is Showcase Magazine, which is a weekly insert of Foster's Daily Democrat. Here's an image of what they printed about the site.

The best answer to the question for the 26th (as selected by the strict criterion that it was the only answer) comes from RinkWorks regular Matt J: "Corks are good, because if you rearrange the letters in 'corks', you get 'rocks', and we all know that David killed Goliath with a rock. The end."

Let's boost the response to today's question by at least 200%. It is, quote, "Which is better? A walking stick or a baton?" Email away.

May 26, 1998

Book-A-Minute Bedtime condensations were posted as promised. Currently, I'm preparing the next batch of Computer Stupidities; this is a particularly good batch, I think. It'll also be a big batch, because I need to flush out some of my back log of stories. Further work on the various new sites continues to go well.

Today's question for you readers is as follows: "Corks. Good or bad?" Send email, folks.

May 23, 1998

Another weekend is upon us. I'll be gone again, but I'll post new Book-A-Minute Bedtime scripts when I get back Monday evening. Speaking of Book-A-Minute, the SF/F site got mentioned in the current issue of Science Fiction Age magazine. Back page, first paragraph. The condensation of Edgar Allan Poe's work is quoted.

May 22, 1998

Stephen K. writes: "You missed a big one: The X-Files!"

Matt J., a real-life friend of mine, writes: "I noticed that you left a gaping hole in your movie list. I think another one of the biggest movies of the summer is going to be the X-Files. I can't wait."

Well guys, to be perfectly honest, I'm not at all anxious to see it. I was listing the ones I wanted to see (with varying degrees of "want," you understand), and The X-Files didn't make it. I was never a big fan of the series. However, I don't dislike the show, and I hope the movie lives up to your expectations. And I'm sure it'll do well at the box office, too.

Moving on to other things, I'm making good progress with some of the sites I'm constructing at the moment. I did some calculations the other night, counting up all the sites I've worked on actively in some capacity and estimating when I'd be done. It turned out, by purest coincidence, that my rough long-term estimates predict one new RinkWorks site to be released every month until this November. I doubt it'll actually work out that way, but it'd be neat if it did. In the short-term, Don't Throw a Brick Straight Up is just about finished, and The Everett Kaser Software FAQ is on track for late June.

May 21, 1998

Yay! The Dialectizer made it into Yahoo. Hooray!

Today I designed a logo for a new RinkWorks site. It's pretty colorful. Just to leave you all hanging, I won't tell you what the new site is -- it's early yet. Stay tuned.

The summer movie season is upon us. I didn't think there was very much I wanted to see this summer, but looking at the line-up, there is. The Truman Show, Hope Floats, The Avengers, The Mask of Zorro, Saving Private Ryan, Lethal Weapon 4, Out of Sight, A Perfect Murder, Mulan, and Ever After: A Cinderella Story (in no particular order) are all ones I'm looking forward to. (Ok, ok, Armageddon might be good too, but I have strong doubts about Godzilla.) I'm predicting Six Days, Seven Nights to be one of the best movies and biggest hits. And There's Just Something About Mary will be the surprise hit comedy of the summer even though I personally won't like it. Leslie Nielsen's Wrongfully Accused will be one of the worst.

Anything you're looking forward to or dreading this summer? Talk to me!

May 20, 1998

The Horse Whisperer was a really good movie. We saw it last weekend. I'll have a review of it in the At-A-Glance Film Reviews page up soon.

The Everett Kaser Software FAQ is coming along nicely. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Everett Kaser's games, check them out at his web site: Most of them are excellent mental exercise, very fun, and very satisfying. All the games are shareware, so you can try them out before you buy.

Finally, "capfriend" writes: "I love the addition of the new Book-A-Minute [Bedtime], and I agree with you, you should just add the new ones to your list without the hype."

I quite agree. So, beginning with last Sunday's Book-A-Minute update, I'm not posting any more "Coming Soon" notices. Don't worry -- it doesn't mean we don't have any more coming soon, just that I'm not going to tell you what they are anymore. :-)

May 19, 1998

I'm thinking this page would be a good one to read through the Dialectizer.

(Redneck, Jive, Elmer Fudd -- make sure you aren't reading this page through one filter when you click on another, or the results won't make much sense.)

May 18, 1998

"Pilldust" writes: "Why 'RinkWorks'?"

It's not a quick answer. As some of the more sharp-eyed of the Book-A-Minute readers among you may have noticed, Dave and I are both (unpublished) authors of fantasy. I'm in the middle of writing my second novel, and one of the characters in the book is called "The Rink." The Rink is one foot high, long eared and pot-bellied, with a big nose, spike-like fangs, fur, plated scales, a lizard's tail, and bulky, gangly limbs. His face might otherwise look menacing, but he has a perpetual far away look in his eyes that suggests he's oblivious to everything. He's a pet of one of the other characters, and one of the surprises in the book is that he's much more intelligent and aware than he seems.

For whatever reason, I became particularly attached to this character. Years ago on the Internet, before it became popular in the mainstream, I was known as "The Rink" in the areas that I frequented regularly. When it came time to put a name to my web productions, "RinkWorks" was a natural. And there you have it.

Pilldust also writes: "I have one suggestion, and it was echoed by most of [the friends I showed the site to]: I'd love to see Ultra-Condensed Films. The Book-A-Minute stuff is arguably written in screenplay format to begin with, so it's a natural progression."

Pilldust, I answered you in more detail through email, but to reiterate the gist of it -- we've thought of it, and we're currently trying to think of how best to go about it. No promises yet, and I have a few other web site projects that take precedence. But stay tuned.

May 17, 1998

I'm back. It was a good weekend -- definitely a nice change of pace from the daily routine. Now that I'm back, new Book-A-Minute SF/F condensations will go up this evening, and here's the promised introductions.

Stephen K. writes: "I just wanna ask: who are you guys?? I happened upon the Book-A-Minute page . . . and while I've enjoyed all that RinkWorks has, I'm not entirely clear who you are. How about shedding some light on exactly who runs RinkWorks?"

It's a good first question, even if the answer is less than stellar. We're a bunch of nerds. Specifically, we consist of:

So that's us. We're located in various parts of New Hampshire, although the site itself is physically located on a computer in California that belongs to the DreamHost web hosting service. Our sole source of revenue is advertising. Although that in and of itself doesn't reimburse us for the time we put in, we enjoy doing the site and hearing from readers who appreciate it. Like I say, we're a bunch of nerds having fun. :-)

May 14, 1998

Dedicated reader Stephen K. sends us a good question: who the heck are we? Unfortunately the answer to that question, which I typed up diligently this morning and intended to post today, took a wrong turn at Albuquerque, and I don't know where it ended up. So hang tight, and the introductions will commence soon. I'll be gone for the weekend, but new computer stupidities will go up before I leave. "See" you on the flipside.

May 13, 1998

Hi all! In an effort to increase the level of interaction between RinkWorks and our guests, I've started this site journal. I'm not yet sure how it will be used, but I hope to provide a balance of "behind-the-scenes" information (including scoops on upcoming features) with feedback from readers. So send us email using the link at the top of the page. Tell us anything. Ask us anything. We want to hear from you!

An announcement. Version 6.3 of the Apogee FAQ is imminent. A random musing. I'm thinking of dropping the "coming soon" announcements on the Book-A-Minute sites because, due to the nature of the humor, I don't think it works as effectively if it's anticipated. Better that the condensations simply appear, don't you think?

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