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Current Topic: Arts

Kryptos (and Elonka) mentioned in Dan Brown's new book "The Lost Symbol"
Topic: Arts 3:38 pm EDT, Sep 20, 2009

From the first page in "The Lost Symbol":

Fact: In 1991, a document was locked in the safe of the director of the CIA. The document is still there today. Its cryptic text includes references to an ancient portal and an unknown location underground. The document also contains the phrase "It's buried out there somewhere." ...

Heh, Brown's new book has multiple Kryptos references in it. The "Fact" part at the beginning is obviously referring to Sanborn's message, though Brown is twisting K2 and K3 together a bit. The "ancient portal" is actually King Tut's tomb in Egypt, not anything on the grounds of the CIA.

I'm also tickled that Brown included an encrypted reference to me in the book. He's done this in his other books, putting anagrammed names in for the characters. For example, in "The Da Vinci Code", the character "Leigh Teabing" is named after Richard Leigh and Michael Baigent (Teabing is an anagram of Baigent), the authors of "Holy Blood Holy Grail", a pseudoscience book that Brown used as source material for DVC.

So in the Lost Symbol, there's a CIA analyst who's looking at the Kryptos sculpture in chapter 127. The character's name is "Nola Kaye", which is an anagram for "Elonka"! Pretty cool, thanks Dan!

More info on Kryptos, see The Kryptos FAQ

Elonka :)

Kryptos (and Elonka) mentioned in Dan Brown's new book "The Lost Symbol"

Dragon*Con founder sues successor over finances
Topic: Arts 3:12 pm EST, Feb 26, 2009

Dragon Con founder Ed Kramer is suing the current director of Atlanta’s annual sci-fi/fantasy convention for allegedly shortchanging him on stock proceeds.

In the suit, filed in Fulton Superior Court, Kramer accuses Dragon Con president Robert Patrick Henry of misspending company funds on Las Vegas boondoggles and hiring unqualified family members.

Dragon*Con founder sues successor over finances

[citation needed] bumper stickers
Topic: Arts 3:18 pm EST, Jan  3, 2008

[citation needed] bumper stickers

Bradford Anderson / Damian Spinelli : The hacker on General Hospital
Topic: Arts 9:57 pm EDT, Mar 17, 2007
Bradford Anderson, playing the character Damian Spinelli on General Hospital

I am becoming more and more of a fan of Bradford Anderson, who plays the hacker character "Damian Spinelli" on General Hospital.

For those who don't watch GH: Spinelli is a character that was introduced a few months ago, as a college-aged "hacker." Initially just a side character who was introduced to provide an encrypted flash drive as part of a mob storyline, he's been developing a substantial fanbase. I've had fun watching how the writers are wrestling with the character -- *someone* on the writing staff has some geek chops, but they're limited as to what they can portray in the show, targeted as it is towards a mainstream audience that won't understand the majority of the cyberculture in-jokes. And of course there are the usual gaps in accuracy that are needed to keep the story moving along: Spinelli's laptop battery never fails, he always has instant access to high-speed wifi no matter which building he's in, and of course can tap into any hospital database or hotel security system with merely a couple keystrokes. ;)

But the real joy of the character, is watching Anderson's portrayal. He's not your typical soap star, and to be honest, has more Quasimodo in his look than Prince Charming. But the sheer personality that oozes out of him in every scene makes him more fun to watch than any Chippendale's dancer (and face it, Quasimodo is way hotter than any ol' vanilla prince).

I went ahead and wrote most of the Wikipedia bio on Anderson, and was impressed with what I learned. He's a 27-year-old actor out of New Hampshire, with some award-winning stage performances under his belt. He's also got skills in the school of physical comedy, and frequently plays his scenes like he's a high-energy combination of Sean Penn, Don Knotts, and Walter Mitty. He's high IQ comic relief, and a refreshingly original character in the world of soapdom.

The original reaction from some of the critics was, "Who is he, and why did they pick someone so ugly?" but the fan response has been incredibly positive, and fansites are popping up around the internet that are pairing Spinelli with "Lulu Spencer" (the beautiful blonde teenaged daughter of Luke & Laura) and splicing together all kinds of YouTube music videos with every snippet of a Spinelli appearance that's been on the show so far. The buzz is that Anderson has been offered a longer term contract on the show, and I hope he accepts, because I'm hooked on this character. He's my favorite part of GH at the moment, and it's a disappointment when it's not a "Spinelli day."

For those who like to track the fictional portrayals of hackers in pop culture, I recommend tuning in on this guy. He's a lot of fun to watch.

Elonka :)

P.S. For an example of Spinelli dialogue: In one scene, Spinelli visited the home of Lulu Spencer's grandmother, Lesley, who he had never met before. When Lesley opened the door, Spinelli timidly greeted her, and gave her the best compliment that he could think of, which was to shyly tell her, "Your DMV pictures don't do you justice!" :)

Bradford Anderson / Damian Spinelli : The hacker on General Hospital

Kitty Darth
Topic: Arts 9:51 pm EDT, Jul 31, 2006

Just one of those images that is better seen than described....

Elonka :)

Kitty Darth

Elonka Dunin, Kryptos and Codes | The Cryptex - News on Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code and The Solomon Key
Topic: Arts 2:46 pm EDT, Jul 27, 2006

A new book of interest is The Mammoth Book of Secret Codes and Cryptograms, by Elonka Dunin (Amazon US). Why post this on a page about Dan Brown you ask? Simple - Dunin is most well-known for her work in decoding the ciphers of James Sanborn, the creator of the Kryptos statue at C.I.A. headquarters in Virginia. As I point out in my book The Guide to Dan Brown's The Solomon Key (Amazon US), Sanborn and Kryptos are quite likely to play a part in Dan Brown's much-awaited sequel to The Da Vinci Code. Dunin confirms as much in this short interview. Interestingly, she also has a personal comment from Dan Brown about the one degree discrepancy between the co-ordinates coded into the dust-jacket of The Da Vinci Code (again, see my book if you don't know about this), and the actual location of Kryptos:

I've asked Dan Brown about that. He just says, "The discrepancy is intentional"...It points to the general location of CIA headquarters, about 150 feet southeast of the sculpture. His books are basically treasure hunts. I think he's planning to do that in Washington, D.C. One of the "go here, get a clue" is going to be, maybe, "Kryptos."

An interesting piece of extra information, ne c'est pas?

Heh. Another author using *my* book, to promote *his* book. Ah, the tangled web we weave...

Elonka :)

Elonka Dunin, Kryptos and Codes | The Cryptex - News on Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code and The Solomon Key

Elonka Dunin - Upcoming appearances and booksignings
Topic: Arts 1:18 pm EDT, May  5, 2006

I'm about to head out to E-3 in L.A., as well as some booksignings in southern California. To keep track of everything, I've set up an "appearances" webpage, and here are some of the upcoming events. If anyone's in any of these locales, feel free to stop by!

This page contains a list of conferences/events that I am planning to attend over the next year or so. I am not necessarily speaking at all of these, but I will definitely be in attendance, and am available for booksignings.

May 2006:
May 6-14, 2006: E-3, Los Angeles
May 13, 2006, Noon: Gary and Elizabeth's wedding, San Dimas, CA
May 13, 2006, 4-6 p.m.: Booksigning at Seidman Gallery, 2502 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA - 310-392-0811
May 16, 2006, St. Louis Game Developers Meeting, Meramec College, MO
May 20, 2006: Skippy & Katherine's wedding, St. Louis
May 26, 2006: Booksigning at St. Louis Lambert Airport, time tbd
May 27, 2006: Barnes & Noble, Florissant, Missouri - 13995 New Halls Ferry Road, 2-5 p.m.

June 2006:
June 3, Booksigning at Borders - Creve Coeur, MO, 2-4 p.m.
June 10, Booksigning at Borders - St. Peters, MO, 2-4 p.m.
June 15-16, "Games, Learning, and Society Conference", Madison, Wisconsin
June 23-25, "UnofficialCon" (SimuCon 2006), St. Louis, Missouri
June 30, Booksigning at Borders - Fairview Heights, IL

And no, just because I list someone's wedding, does not mean that I'm planning on setting up a table and selling books. ;) But to those who know the particular couple and are going to be there as well, it's a reminder that if they have a book, I'm happy to sign it for them if they remember to bring it.

Elonka :)

Elonka Dunin - Upcoming appearances and booksignings

'Da Vinci Code' sequel delayed
Topic: Arts 1:29 am EDT, Apr 24, 2006

April 21, 2006:

LONDON (Reuters) - Dan Brown's follow-up novel to his global bestseller "The Da Vinci Code" won't be ready by the end of the year as originally expected, his publisher said on Friday.
"We don't know when it's coming, but it's out of the schedule for this year," said Larry Finlay, managing director for Transworld Publishers in London, a division of Bertelsmann-owned Random House.
"At one point we were hoping for it around October or November, but now it's looking like 2007," he told Reuters, confirming a report in the Bookseller trade publication.

Hmm, perhaps the delay is because of the Kryptos announcement? Brown has to rewrite the Kryptos section now... ;)

'Da Vinci Code' sequel delayed

Amazon: Customers who bought this also bought:
Topic: Arts 11:58 am EDT, Apr 14, 2006

I just get such a giggle out of seeing what shows up in the Amazon "also bought" list on my book's page. Today (sales rank #16,123, btw), it's:

- The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography by Simon Singh

- The Cryptogram Challenge: Over 150 Codes to Crack and Ciphers to Break by Robert Allen

- Twisty Little Passages : An Approach to Interactive Fiction by Nick Montfort

- Rootkits : Subverting the Windows Kernel by Greg Hoglund

- Fortune's Formula : The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System That Beat the Casinos and Wall Street by William Poundstone

Especially that "Rootkits" one makes me laugh everytime I see it. Yay, my geek fans are buying my book!

Elonka :)

Fashion Monitor Toronto - Dan Brown Clear of Da Vinci Code Plagiarism Accusations
Topic: Arts 4:26 pm EDT, Apr  7, 2006

The Da Vinci Code is currently being adapted into a film by Columbia Pictures, with director Ron Howard; the film will star Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, Audrey Tautou as Sophie Neveu and Sir Ian McKellen as Leigh Teabing. It is scheduled for release on May 19, 2006.

Brown is working on a new novel, called The Solomon Key, which will reportedly take place in Washington DC, and feature the secret society of the Freemasons. Exact release date has not been announced, but the most common media speculation says late 2006 or sometime in 2007.

Brown's promotional website states that puzzles hidden in the bookjacket of The Da Vinci Code (including two referring to the Kryptos sculpture at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia) give hints about the subject of the next novel.

Dan Brown says that he currently has outlines for at least 12 future books, one of which involves a famous composer's "all factual" associations with a secret society.

I am memeing this not because the article is interesting, but because the wording is. The last few paragraphs are *my* phrasing, lifted word for word out of the "Future Projects" section of the Dan Brown Wikipedia article, about 80% of which was written by me.

Fashion Monitor Toronto - Dan Brown Clear of Da Vinci Code Plagiarism Accusations

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