Distilling the Blogosphere into its Purest Form

Yes, I’m totally laughing at myself here.  But I take comfort from the fact that I’m laughing at all the rest of us, too.

(Official copyright notice: feel free to do whatever the heck you want with this one.  Credit would be nice if you decide to repost, but I’m not about to go all DMCA on your ass over a cartoon that took me a half hour to throw together.)

Ask a Goblin

Quick note: Apparently there’s another LiveJournal exodus going on. This makes me a little sad, because while I do mirror this blog, the best discussions tend to be on LJ.  But for those going elsewhere, I’m also on Dreamwidth as jimhines, and there’s also my blog and RSS feed.


Taking an idea from Mrissa, welcome to “Ask a Goblin.”  Post a question in the comments, and Jig & company will do their best to answer.

I’ll try to respond to as many as I can.  (I don’t promise the answers will be accurate or useful, but hopefully they’ll be fun.)

Ask now!  The goblins are standing by…


Disclaimer: All answers are the opinions of the goblins, and may not reflect the attitudes of Jim C. Hines or any civilized human being.  Please do your own research before following any advice given by goblins.  Answers are provided without guarantees or warranties of any kind.  Goblins have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA.  Reading tiny disclaimers may cause eyestrain.  Goblins reserve the right to eat anyone who asks stupid questions.  Goblins are for external use only. Answers should be hand-washed with like colors.  Do not feed goblins after midnight. Do not mix goblins with platypuses.  Platypii.  Platypeople?  You know what I mean.  Please dispose of this blog post in the proper recepticle.  Upon further research, knowing is only 36.4% of the battle.

Yes, No, or Gazebo

In addition to me doing more around the house while my wife recovers, we’re also getting ready for vacation next week, and of course I’m prepping some things for the release of Red Hood.  (Yes, when my book comes out, I will be up north where I’ll have little Internet access, and where there’s only one tiny microbookstore within 50 miles.  Yes, this will make me approximately 73% crazier than usual.)

Anyway, this is my long-winded way of saying life has doled out an extra dose of busy lately, so rather than a long, thoughtful blog post, I’m just gonna play today.

Your role, should you choose to accept it, is to ask a yes/no question.  Any question.

I shall answer it.  I will do my best to answer all questions, but if it’s something I consider too personal or too spoilery (or if I just don’t know), then your answer may be a bit more random…

The Spork Theory

Many of you are probably familiar with Spoon Theory, summarized as “Christine Miserandino’s personal story and analogy of what it is like to live with sickness or disability.”

I would like to propose a new theory, one which builds upon this model and explores what it’s like to live with people’s stupidity.  I’m calling it Spork Theory.

Imagine you have a dozen sporks.  Over the course of each day, it’s likely you’ll encounter stupidity, and you’ll have the urge to stab it with a spork.  For the average person, twelve sporks might be enough to get you through the day.

But some of us work in customer support … and spend way too much time online.

You come into work, passing the idiot who parked in the handicap spot “just to run a quick errand.”  Sporkstab!

You walk to your office, settle in, and take your first call from someone who has a question about an e-mail they received … a question which is answered in the very first paragraph of the e-mail.  Sporkstab!

Eventually you take a break and go online, where you find yourself reading the comments about a black actor wanting to audition for Spider-Man.  Stabbity stabbity, and there go two more sporks.

An e-mail forward pops up with the subject line “The Real Truth About Obama”…

Before you know it, it’s lunchtime and you’re down to three sporks to get you through the rest of the day.  A coworker shows up, interrupting you at exactly the wrong time, and you forget to program your insulin pump for your lunch dose.  Selfsporkstab! (Ask not for whom the spork stabs … it stabs for me.)

You do your best to ration those last two sporks.  You flee the blog post about The End Of Publishing.  You save a few e-mails to answer tomorrow morning.  On the drive home, you switch radio stations when the DJ starts talking.  If you’re lucky and very careful, you might just make it to the end of the day without going into spork defecit.

I’ve had to learn that you can’t sporkstab all the stupid.  You have to think about the stupidity you’re likely to encounter that day.  You prioritize your sporks.  Sometimes you have to smile and grit your teeth when you’d rather be sporkstabbing.

So if you send me a link to something stupid and I don’t get back to you, or I don’t blog about it, please don’t take it personally.  I’m just trying to conserve my sporks.


While I had way too much fun writing this parody, I also have tremendous respect for Miserandino’s Spoon Theory, which I found to be a very effective and simple metaphor for something most of us don’t think about or understand.  I showed it to my wife (who lives with chronic pain, among other issues), and she had one of those “Yes!  That!” reactions.  It’s helped me to understand some things better, and I highly recommend reading it if you haven’t already.

Star Trek Pants

I have nothing deep to blog about today, so I turn instead to another pressing question.  Does the Star Wars Pants game work with Star Trek as well?

You be the judge.  (And feel free to jump in and play with the pants in the comments.)


“Captain, I believe I speak for everyone when I say … to hell with our pants.”  -Data, First Contact

“Who’s been holding up the damn pants?”  -McCoy, STII

“Rumors of my pants have been greatly exaggerated.”  -Picard, First Contact

“That green-blooded son of a bitch.  It’s his revenge for all those pants he lost.” -McCoy, STIII

“Uhura, signal our pants!”  -Kirk, STVI

“You’re so stolid.  You weren’t like that before the pants.”  -Q, Deja-Q

“It’s wondrous, with pants to satiate desires both subtle and gross.”  -Q, Q Who?

“…and get that fish out of my pants.”  -Captain Jellico, Chain of Command (Part I)

“If I may inquire sir, how long have you been captain of the Enterprise?”
“Four years. Ever since Captain Picard was killed in the incident with the pants.”  -Worf and Riker, Parallels

“How many have paid the price for your pants? How many have died?” -Saavik, STIII

“Comfortable pants.” -Worf, the Emissary

“…pants I will deprive you of, just like I did your father!” -Nero, Star Trek

“Going back in time, changing pants … that’s cheating!” -Kirk, Star Trek

“It can be argued that a human is ultimately the sum of his pants.” -Sisko, Emissary

“Good pants. That’s where ideas begin.”  -David Marcus, STII

“For a time, I was tempted by her pants.” -Data, First Contact

“Insufficient pants always invite danger.” -Spock, Space Seed

“You will never come up against a greater adversary than your own pants.” -Dr. Stubbs, Evolution

“Sorry about your pants, but as we say on Earth, c’est la vie.” -Kirk, STIII

“I’ll have Mr Adventure eating out of my pants, and I’ll see all of you at the rendezvous.” -Uhura, STIII

Friday LEGO

Quick blog post today before setting off for Penguicon this afternoon.  Hoping to see some of you there!

Assuming the schedule doesn’t change, I’ll be doing a five-hour panel block Saturday afternoon.  If I crash the author signing at 6:00, it’ll be six hours nonstop.  Should be interesting to see how coherent I am by the end of the day!

I’m also doing a reading on Sunday with Sarah Monette and Pat Rothfuss, which should be fun.  I’m still trying to decide which bit to read out of Red Hood’s Revenge.

Unrelated to Penguicon, I have web site envy.  I mentioned the book Feed yesterday.  Today, the Feed Book site launched.  ‘Tis most nifty.

Finally, your Friday LEGO, courtesy of Mrs. Monster.  Click here or on the picture for the full set.  (She’s also done Marvin the Martian, among others!)

Random LOL Book

I haven’t done a LOL book in ages.  Heck, a good chunk of my readers probably found me after I stopped doing ’em.  But what can I say — I saw this cover, and was struck by inspiration.  The book is Day of the Minotaur, by Thomas Burnett Swann.

The full LOL Book archives are available via

Mad Libs Reviewing

It surprises me sometimes how many people are uncomfortable reviewing books.  I don’t mean a professional, paid review for the New York Times, but just a note on the blog or Amazon or wherever.  A lot of people have told me they just don’t know what to say, or they don’t believe they can write a good review.

Fear not good people, for I have the solution.  Mad Libs Reviews take the stress from reviewing, and make for a much more entertaining read.  (In some cases, probably more entertaining than the actual book.)

If I were a programmer, I’d set up an app to do this automatically.  But I’m not, so we do it the old fashioned way.  Choose your words, then read your review of a hypothetical goblin book.  Feel free to share any particularly fun lines in the comments.  (But remember, this is a family-friendly blog.)

Have fun, and tune in next week when I use Mad Libs to write the promo piece for THE SNOW QUEEN’S SHADOW!

1. Noun: ________________
2. Noun: ________________
3. Adverb: ________________
4. Animal: ________________
5. Verb: ________________
6. Noun: ________________
7. Name: ________________
8. Verb: ________________
9. Adjective: ________________
10. Noun: ________________
11. Adjective: ________________
12. Noun: ________________
13. Emotion: ________________

Lego Transformers (aka, Jim has a Geekgasm)

The not-a-raffle has raised more than $900 for rape crisis centers so far!  I’ll be picking a winner on 4/16, which means there’s still time for us to push that amount past the $1000 mark.


There was more I intended to blog about today, but none of that matters anymore, because I have seen this:

A Flickr user named Orion Pax built Optimus Prime out of Lego.  A transforming Optimus Prime.  Click the pic or this link for the full set of Pax’s Lego Transformers.

Oh yes, I said Transformers plural, including Grimlock, Soundwave, Starscream … I think I’m in love.

My over-the-top squeeing aside, check out the details on this thing.  I didn’t even believe it was all Lego at first.  Prime’s fingers?  Blue legs from minifigs.  Windshield wipers are a pair of Lego harpoon guns.  The gun, the matrix, Roller … I just … wow.

I now know what I want for my birthday next week.

Jim C. Hines