1st & 2nd February, 2011

I’m going to change the dating of these daily blog posts, because I want to talk about today today and not tomorrow. Because today is the best, most coolest day of the year.

They say the British are the best for strange ceremonies and weird anniversaries, whether it be cheese-rolling, running through the centre of town while carrying a burning barrel of tar, or the ceremony of the Quit Rents, to name just a handful of charming and eccentric events. But today (that’s February 2nd – see, told you I needed to change my dating system), the Americans have it all sewn up. Because today is Groundhog Day.

Groundhog Day is a relatively recent piece of folklore, at least compared to European and British traditions. It looks like it was first mentioned around 1841, and today has become a major annual festival in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. I’m sure most people will be familiar with Groundhog Day thanks to the 1993 film of the same name, starring Bill Murray. Thanks to this film, the term “groundhog day” is now in common usage to refer to unpleasant, unchanging, repetitive situations, and apparently this began in the US military.

Why do I love Groundhog Day? Well, Punxsutawny Phil, the groundhog in question, is unbearably cute…

…and there is something totally crazy and endearable about a cute animal who lives in a tree stump on Gobber’s Knob being called on to predict the weather by a bunch of guys in top hats, who claim to be able to speak to Phil in Groundhogese. This, in my mind, is damn cool. You can watch Punxsutawny Phil’s prognostication live online here from 6am EST (11am GMT), with the prognostication ceremony starting at 7.25am (12.25 GMT).

Also, Groundhog Day is my birthday, a coincidence that I am pleased as punch at. I know a lot of people who don’t like birthdays, but, like Groundhog Day and bowties, I think birthdays are cool. One day I hope to celebrate it in Punxsutawny.

Writing and editing
No words again. But that’s okay because The Wasp in the Lotus really, really needs to get to second draft ASAP. This steampunk/clockpunk novella has requiered a lot of revision, and it wouldn’t surprise me if I’ve actually hit 2000 words a day just on corrections and changes. I’ve got ten pages left to go, then I’ll get it out to my beta-readers and let them digest it until early next week.

Project: <none selected>
Words today: 0
Total words for 2011: 45,701

Reading
Surprisingly, I didn’t pick up Firestarter yesterday, but I did manage to knock off two comics. Okay, it’s not the five I need to read each day, but last night I was obliged to go out and eat a very large meal (obliged, I tell you) on account of Groundhog Day my birthday, and when I got back I wasn’t quite in the mood for a lot of reading. Detective Comics #756 from 2001 is a one-shot tie-in (Lord of the Ring) to Superman #168, but writer Greg Rucka manages to recap events in just a couple of panels, so I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. It’s a nice little story, although not one connected to the return of Catwoman, which is what I’m leading up to. I also love the art by Coy Turnbull (pencils), Dan Davis (inks) and Wildstorm FX (colours – although I’m not sure whether Wildstorm FX is a person or some department of Wildstorm comics). These issues of Detective Comics may be ten years old but they’re a real breath of fresh air for me. The other comic read was Green Lantern #78 from 1970, being the third of the famous O’Neil/Adams run. Black Canary makes an appearance here, although various aspersions are cast upon her character at the end which surprised me a little. That Black Canary, eh? A good issue but lacking in the punch of the previous two.

Books: A page or two of Firestarter by Stephen King.
Comics: Detective Comics #756 (2000), Green Lantern #78 (1970)