December 27th, 2004


Things, and stuff

In spite of having half of Friday off (effectively) the weekend was entirely too short. Plus, I lost my bus pass. Well, the new one will probably show up in the mail today. It's about that time of the month, after all.

My eBay auctions went very well, and I'll be busy with them again tonight since the fee is only ten cents today. So I might as well seize the opportunity to throw a bunch of CDs up there, since the month-end paycheck will be sucked up by the rent and other bills almost before it hits my checking account. January in general is going to be spent undoing the damage done this month to various credit cards, lines of credit, etc., while staying at home and catching up on all the overdue schoolwork. (Yeah, I keep saying that, but this time I really need to get cracking on it.)
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You can't post that on YOUR blog...

I remember Scott Imes recommending Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake novels to me back in the day, when pretty much everything stopped for Buffy on Tuesday nights, and I remember liking the first half-dozen or so. After a while Anita lost her charm; as one of her supporting characters remarked, "You're becoming one of the monsters, Blake." Besides, the gratuitous sex content started crowding out the plot, so I stopped reading them.

Professor Bainbridge, on the other hand, didn't stop, and evidently was truly disgusted with the latest Blake novel, Cerulean Sins. So disgusted he solicited a suitable ending for the Anita Blake franchise: an Elric/Anita Blake crossover fanfic which would end in the death of the sometime vampire hunter at the hands of the last King of Melnibone and his soul-sucking sword. Said fanfic was to be posted on his blog.

Unfortunately, fellow lawyer and blogger Eugene Volokh turned thumbs down on the idea, citing the distinct possibility that Bainbridge might run afoul of copyright law. While Volokh discusses parody as a defense, I think he misses the point of most fanfic. Fanfic is not usually parody but rather an homage to the original work, and as such wouldn't be entitled to that defense; the best one could do was claim fair use while pointing to the fact that you weren't doing it for commercial purposes. That would be pretty hard to do if you were posting it on your blog, on which you were accepting ads.

I still think such a fanfic is worth doing, but I sure don't have time to do it myself. For one thing, I'd have to go back and read all the Elric novels all over again, and I'm not even sure those are here in Minnesota...come to think of it, I'm pretty sure they're not. For another, I have enough writing on my plate as it is. If I did do it, though, I could certainly post it here. I'm damn sure not making any money off this LJ.

Now just as ugly on the inside!

I've never been overly impressed by City Center, that big ugly pile of concrete and retail space in downtown Minneapolis. It looks for all the world like some chunk of Hitler's Atlantic Wall picked up by Minnesotans during World War II and brought home as a trophy of war, and lately has been just about as successful in attracting businesses. Lately, though, they've just been ripping the guts out of the place. There's plywood all over the inside where the balcony walls used to be, the escalator on the north side has been shut down, and a goodly number of the places in the Food Court have closed down. There were signs today at the Taco Bell and McDonald's advising customers that they would be closing soon and directing them to other nearby branches iof the franchise.

According to this April article from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, the plan is to further increase the amount of office space in the old bunker, and also aggressively court "service providers" who will cater to the people who live and work downtown instead of continuing the futile effort to compete with the Dales and Mall of America. One of the changes mentioned in the article was the addition of an "upscale grocery store with heavy emphasis on deli and prpared foods." Hmmm. Sounds a lot like Dayton's Marketplace to me, or perhaps like the Lund's that's supposed to go in down Hennepin Avenue by MCTC.

I'm generally skeptical about redvelopment efforts like this, but for once it seems like the developers are using their brains for something besides an ear separator. My only question is whether there'll be enough customer flow to keep a bunch of low-margin stores and eateries alive in City Center. Even before the redevelopment started, the Food Court had lost Arby's and 1 Potato 2, and I believe the closing of the DQ/Orange Julius also predated the renovations. We'll see how it goes. I'm less concerned with this sort of thing than I was back when I lived in Minneapolis and saw my property taxes getting pissed away on subsidies for this sort of thing.
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    contemplative contemplative