Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dogs Eat Their Own Vomit

It was easier than I expected. The hard part is now waiting for Jeff to "tally the votes". [sigh] Oh well. Tuesday will be here soon enough.

Tomorrow is Halloween. Can't wait! Also kinda love the fact that it's still almost 90 degrees out here. (ALthough next week it's supposed to start cooling down into the 70s ...which is fine by me. Not complaining about that one bit.)

Can't believe that the month is over already! Only 2 to go in the year. Here's the wordle cloud.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Character Study

So here's something that amazes me:

Mourning fictional characters.

It's one thing when it's someone in a movie or television series, because you can physically see and hear the people, so when they die, it's more visceral. Also, there's typically manipulative music accompanying it, which helps.

But what's really odd is when it's a character in a book that gets you.

Because it's all just words. The individual, their history, their thoughts, anything they've ever done - it's all just words. So when you read about them passing - even if it is in a way that is highly unfair - and you have an emotional reaction identical to one you'd have if it were happening in real life? That's some amazing stuff. I don't know if when that happens it's a testament to the writing ability of the writer, or if it speaks poorly of the brain's ability to tell the difference between reality and fiction.
Maybe both. [shrug]

I bring all this up because, yes, I've been impacted by something recently read. I've been reading the Walking Dead graphic novel series. It's extremely addictive and pretty well done overall. Plus, the basis of the series is zombies, so, you know, right up my alley. :)
Anyway. Yes, there are generally deaths in each volume. But the latest - issue #8, "Made to Suffer" - was absolutely the saddest one yet. There's at least one more collection ("Here we Remain") to go, so maybe things'll pick up for the survivors... but it is a zombie story. [other than "Shaun of the Dead" has any zombie story ended well?]

I don't know that there is anyone who is reading the series who is also reading this, but I'll spoiler tag the discussion, just to be safe (and if you are ever going to read it, you should make sure you don't highlight this because being spoiled on it would be a bad thing):
Holy shit, dude. Not only did Rick lose Lori, but Judith, too? I mean, she was just born in the last issue. God, I'm near tears again as I type this.
And Tyreese, too?? And ugh. The way the Governor killed him was particularly brutal, even for this series.
I have to admit that as I was reading this issue, I was expecting Rick to die - what with him passing on his gun to Carl, and also asking him to be the Man of the House, as it were.
Plus, the prison safe haven that they've stayed at for so long is completely overrun now. All in all, things are looking really bleak for everyone left alive.

I can't wait for the next collection.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I picked up the debut novel by Patrick Quinlan, Smoked (276/dead) for my Q book.
This is a page-turner thriller about Smoke Dugan, a bomb-making expert who, a few years back, "retired" from the mafia after one of his explosives was used to cause a plane crash. His retirement consisted of him assassinating a mobster, stealing 2.5 million dollars, moving to a small town in Maine, and changing his name.
All's good, until the mob finds him. (They always find ya.)
The characters in this novel are most definitely the highlight. Even if some of them are rather unbelievable, and the twists that occasionally happened required a bit of suspension of disbelief, the ride is enjoyable enough that that's overlookable. (Overlookable?) The one thing that was interesting was that nobody was safe in this book. Many thrillers that I've read introduce characters - especially quirky ones - and the writer falls in love with them, thus keeping them alive longer than you'd expect. Not so with Smoked. Turns out that mob life really is pretty deadly, and putting your guard down for even a minute can result in a messy end.
Which was cool. It gave the book a more sense of urgency.

I only listened to The Best of ? and the Mysterians: Cameo Parkway 1966-1967 once, but I guess that's because I just wasn't in the mood for multiple listens of groovy-late-60's rock-pop. It was enjoyable, but not fantastic.

Michael Caine rocks my socks off. I don't think I've ever seen a bad performance from him, and his turn in The Quiet American is no different. The movie itself is good, not great, but Michael Caine totally steals the show. Not much else to say about that.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Now face North

"Stand" by REM

So Stephen King's novel, The Stand turns 30 years old this year. (Last month, actually.) There's an interesting interview with Mr King here where he talks about The Stand and apocalypse(s) and his upcoming collection of short stories (yay!) and Sarah Palin (oh, but I mentioned apocalypse already).

Anyway. Time to talk The Stand/King memories/thoughts/whatever.

I remember when I first read The Stand. I was 12 (or maybe 13) years old, and it was the first Stephen King book I ever read - I was so ambitious back then! I began with his longest novel I could find!
Of course I was hooked from there on out.

And because I'm too tired to really coherently write much of anything, here's how King's work breaks down:

Stuff (that I've read) that rocked:
The Stand, Eyes of the Dragon, Pet Semetary (creepy-ass ending), Duma Key, On Writing, Insomnia, Misery, all of his short story collections, The Running Man & Rage [Bachman Books].

Stuff (that I've read) that did not rock:
Lisey's Story, From a Buick 8, Dreamcatcher, Gerald's Game, Dolores Clairborne, Blaze & Regulators [Bachman Book], and It [Waaaaay too long].

I've not read the Dark Tower series - question for those who have: Worth it? I know about the whole "Stephen King is a character in the book at the end" bit, and I'm cool with that. But is the series worth the time to get into and read completely?

There are plenty of other books of King's that I've not included on the above list, mostly because I couldn't remember them, or they just didn't quite fit into either category - Firestarter and Carrie, for instance. Oh! Salem's Lot. That one rocked. At least I think it did....I should probably give it a reread.

What about you? Have you read The Stand? Did you enjoy it? What about the (mostly crappy) mini-series from the mid-90's?
Oh, and that brings up the topic of film adaptations of King's works... which is probably better saved for another day, because there have been a lot of them.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008





Monday, October 20, 2008


I was going to blog about how after talking to my sister today, I realized I've blocked out/forgotten a great deal of my life. And I was going to blog about everything my sister and I spoke about (one of the downsides to not talking to your family in so long, is there's a LOT to catch up on when you do talk again. One of the upsides is that that means you've got lots to talk about.) ...but, I really don't want to blog about either. I've been thinking about not blogging anymore, period. Of course, I'm going to continue posting every other day for the remainder of 2008, but the following year? Well, we'll see how things go when we get there, I guess.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I've read books by Chuck Palahniuk before- Fight Club and Choke, and I'm fairly certain I've read Survivor, although I can't really remember anything about it if I have, other than vagueness of what the plot is.

But anyway, since I knew I enjoyed those previous novels, I decided to pick up some other Palahniuk books.

Lullaby (260/life) is amazingly good. It's about a reporter - Carl Streator - who discovers that there is a thing called a culling song - an eight line lullaby from Africa - that has the power to kill people when read to them. (Or even simply thought at them, as he finds later)
Realizing that such a weapon would spell certain doom for humanity, Carl hooks up with a real-estate agent (Helen), her Wiccan secretary (Mona), and her secretary's boyfriend (Oyster) in order to obtain all the copies of the spell and destroy them.
At least that's what Carl wants to do. Seems that everyone has a different idea of what to do with the power of the culling song ...and the other spells that exist.
With Carl killing people with his thoughts alone, you'd think that it would be hard to feel sympathy for him, but after reading some of the saddest twists ever, I ended up pitying Carl. Or at least understanding him better. And he truly did want to control his power.
...anyway. After reading the book, I wiki-ed up 'culling song' just to see if they truly exist. That took me to the entry on the novel, and I found out that Palahniuk wrote the song after his father and step-mother were murdered, they caught the guy who did it, and he was asked to sit in on the trial that would decide if he got the death penalty or not. Knowing that personal bit to the story made the impact even more powerful.
So, yeah. Lullaby is highly recommended.

All 3 P CDs were good! Amazing.

Panic! At the Disco's new one: Pretty. Odd. is too. damn. catchy.
At least, the first half is. It drags for a little in the middle, then picks back up again at the end. But good god, I spent more hours last week with bits of We're So Starving, Do You Know What I'm Seeing?, She's a Handsome Woman, and The Green Gentleman [Things Have Changed] stuck in my head than I'd like to admit.

I also greatly enjoyed The Fragile Army by The Polyphonic Spree. But, then, I knew I liked that band, so I expected to be happy with this album. They just make you happy.

What surprised me was the last disc. It was Texas by PlayRadioPlay!
The singer's voice is emo, the lyrics are angsty and juvenile (or amusing and juvenile, depending), and the music is a mix of electronica, and synth-pop. Which makes it sound like it should have every strike against it. And yet...I really liked this disc. Go figure.


I watched Frank Capra's Platinum Blonde, which was enjoyable and fun, although not nearly as good as You Can't Take it With You or It's a Wonderful Life.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


You'd think I'd learn. Don't blog (or attempt to) this late at night. Or, if you do, make sure you've got topics lined up beforehand. Otherwise, you wind up doing what you're seeing now - me simply filling space with nothing to say.

So...I'll just turn it over to anyone that wants to comment. Free for all! Just say hey, or tell me a joke, or drop a song lyric that's going through your head, or the funniest thing you've seen on television this week [for me it's from Pushing Daisies: "We are Italian." "Part time."], or what you last ate, or what you plan on eating, or what books you are reading, or a funny (or annoying) personalized license plate, or ask a question that has been plaguing you, or give a prediction on the upcoming election, or relay some good advice you've received in your life, or recommend a vampire movie, or tell me what you're going to be for Halloween, or link to a good online game, or spoil a movie, or tell me your economic plan, or give a shout-out to Joe the Plumber, or try to type a sentence using all of the letters of the alphabet...backwards, or drop some trivia on my ass, or get medieval upon my ass, or drop some medieval trivia upon my ass, or solve a math equation, or post a math equation, or start a story, or finish a story, or finish this post.
You know. Whatever.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

sign of the times

There's this payday loan place right down the street from our house that I pass daily on the walk to the bus stop. Outside of it, they have put up a sign that originally read:


but a few days ago, the W was removed (or fell off on it's own). Heh.

Sunday, October 12, 2008



On a recommendation from Kirk, I picked up the Joyce Carol Oates book, Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart (405/part) for my "O" book.
The novel is about a small town in the 1950s where a murder takes place and how it impacts the lives of Iris Courtney, a white teenager who witnessed it happen, and Jinx Fairchild, a black teen who committed the crime.

This was the first book by Oates I've read, and I will definitely pick up more in the future, because she is a very talented writer. However, this novel did seem uneven to me. The parts that were good were really good, but certain characters [Leslie Courtney, and the entire Savage family at the end] just did nothing for me. What's amazing though, is that even during the sections that didn't hold my interest, the writing was top-notch. If that makes sense.
And as stated, the novel was overall quite good, so I'm glad that I read it. Thanks, Kirk!


Both of the "O" artist CDs I got were actually good! What are the odds?
I grabbed a "best of" album from Oasis - Stop the Clocks is a 2 disc compilation of the Gallagher Bros' work, and was quite enjoyable. Although I'm a little peeved that neither disc had "You All Everybody" on it. ;)
The other disc I picked up was Blame it on Gravity by the Old 97s.
Awesome CD that, if I still had in my possession, would definitely be on repeat right now. Just a lot of fun. Also, someone needs to make a Chuck related fanvid to the song "Dance with Me". Seriously.

I picked up 3 DVDs, but only got around to watching 2. They say that's not bad, though.
The one I didn't watch was Off the Black, but it looked interesting. Some other time, perhaps.
I did watch The Out of Towners, which was a nice distraction. Jack Lemmon's increasing frustration through the film = LOLness.

I also watched The Omega Man, which The 70s were, in many ways, really messed up.
But, at least now I've seen all 3 movie versions of Richard Matheson's novel, "I Am Legend". Maybe I should read it someday.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Four more years!

Four years ago I made a post arguing against voting (which wound up being the post that has generated the most comments on my blog to date. I guess voting [or not] is a hot topic. I wonder how many comments this entry will inspire...). And while a good percentage of that post still rings true, I have decided that this presidential election I am going to cave in to The Man and actually cast my ballot.

Oddly, having made this decision, I'm finding that I'm also encouraging other people to do the same. At least two of my coworkers are also voting (for the first time) come this November. Yay?

Anyway. What I'm posting about today, my friends, are the reasons for voting for John McCain.

Here we go!

[-] For the lulz. Seriously. Mocking McCain (and Palin) is the bread-and-butter for late-night commentators such as John Stewart and David Letterman. Won't somebody think of the comedians!?!

[-] President Fey. The plan is as follows: Sometime between now and November 5th, we need to kidnap Sarah Palin, and replace her with Tina Fey. Then, once we elect McCain/Faux-Palin into office, we just wait for nature to take it's course with McCain, and voila! President Tina Fey. Brilliant!

[-] Here's the thing. At my work there's a new guy who is a Republican through and through - he's a conservative, Amur-i-can, jingoistic bonehead. He's also quite well off financially. Most conservatives are (right?) So, I figure, thinking like they do (or at least, voting like they do) will result in becoming like they are. If I vote Republican, perhaps I'll be rich like a Republican. And money is the most important thing in this life. Lord knows supporting liberals hasn't paid off for me. Maybe it's time to switch tactics.

[-] And McCain's promise to raise the Child Tax Credit to 7 thousand per child is just more evidence of the above. Sure, we would need that extra money to just be able to afford the status quo as the dollar continues to erode, but, hey. I don't see Obama giving us handouts.

[-] He's gonna win anyway. America has proven time and again that it's voters are ignorant, racist, and fearful. Obama may be leading in the polls, but I know far too many people who are still planning on voting for McCain (I know of six off the top of my head. Seven if you think I'm seriously going to vote for the old man), and then, of course, there's DieBold to take into account...

[-] His name. I never get tired of saying "McCaaaaaaaain!!" (Which is a Simpsons reference.) Sure, Obama's name is fun to say too, so I guess in this case it's a draw.

[-] McCain is a crasher. Who better to drive this country into the ground than the guy who crashed 4 airplanes during his military career? But really, things are bad. Do we want to elect the guy who has a chance of improving them slightly, or the one that will guarantee to fuck them up hard core?

In case it wasn't obvious, this is (mostly) meant as a joke. Of course I'm going to vote for the sane(r of the two) candidates. Although points 3 & 4 do have some merit to them.
Anyway. I'll open it up to the floor now, and to make it more interactive, ask for your favorite funny political videos. I've probably seen most of them (I've seen all 3 of Tina Fey's Palin skits on SNL, as well as the time McCain dissed Letterman, and a few of the Daily Show's stuff, but it's always good to see things again, so link away to your favorites)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A-ha!! Literally!

This amused me greatly:

Monday, October 06, 2008

things i need

to blog
to sleep
and, um. also, you know, to blog about sleeping. (Yes, I am UTP@, why do you ask?)

...I got nothing else, really. hopefully next time i go to blog, i won't be so exhausted. i blame my tiredness today on the fact that last night's sleep was disrupted by having had nightmares involving john mccain chasing me. ...that dude is one scary maverick.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

M + N

Two letters for the price of one.

In the M books, I read a book involving a vampire, a werewolf, a ghost, some zombies and dark magic. There were plenty of times when this book tried to be funny, and wasn't, and a number of times where it was mildly amusing and/or clever, but nothing truly hilarious. The story moved at a pretty brisk pace, and while it wasn't superb or anything, it's not like I went in expecting high literature.
No, I didn't read Twilight, or any other Stephenie Meyer book. Instead, I read Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez. (268/night)
The story was about one of those road-side diners you see in movies (and on freeways in the middle of America), only this one has a problem with zombie infestations. Duke (werewolf) and Earl (vampire) are travelling through and opt to help the owner (a large woman named Loretta) clear them out. Eventually they discover that there is someone behind the rising dead and they deal with that individual, but I don't want to spell out the entire story. Like I said, it had moments of funniness - the local law enforcement is comprised of one man: Sheriff Marshall Kopp (ha!!); doing true Black Magic requires you use Pig Latin; zombie cows - but it wasn't laugh out loud funny. I'd probably read another Martinez book just to pass time, but I won't actively seek him out.

I also picked up (and started to read) Steve Martin's Shopgirl. I didn't finish reading it, however, simply because I ran out of time. Sure, I could've kept it for longer, but I moved on to the N book, and simply wasn't in to it any more. [shrug] The 30 or 40 pages I read were good, though. I like Steve Martin.

For the N book, I grabbed Fear Itself by Jonathan Nasaw. (327/Pender)
This was a page-turner thriller about soon-to-be-retired FBI agent E.L. Pender, and his replacement, Linda Abruzzi, who track down a serial killer named Simon Childs who kills people with first using their fears to torture them. Yeah, it sounds a little convoluted, and it is, but it's also something I couldn't put down, because chase scenes, whether on film or in books, are just compelling to me.
Apparently, Pender has been used in other novels that Nasaw has written, and he occasionally made references to past cases, so maybe I'll seek those out someday down the road.


The "M" music selection was huge! I got 4 albums for that week:
Heretic Pride by the Mountain Goats [great band, always like stuff from them]
Rabbit Habits by Man Man [eh. Turned out to be 'experimental' and 'noise' for my liking]
Haarp by Muse [Muse is a good band, but this was a live album, and not one of the better live albums. Or maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it when I put it in]
@#%&*! Smilers by Aimee Mann [another great artist, and this was good stuff too]

The Ns were Nirvana's Nirvana [probably simply because I was blogging about them recently]
and Norma Jean's Redeemer [which turned out to suck horribly because it was thrash-metal-growl-instead-of-really-sing nonsense]

I watched Marathon Man ("Is it safe?" Yikes, dude!) which actually started pretty slowly, but by the end really really had my interest, and Metropolis, which was bizarre and awesome and oddly compelling.
And then the Ns were Network (so many great quotes from this one! "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!!" "You have meddled with primal force of nature, and you. will. atone!!!" "I just ran out of bullshit, you see.") which was great, and also North Country, which made both me and Steph cry (if you've seen it, you know the scene I'm talking about).

And now it's time to go out and pick up the Os.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

bang bang the hammer's in my head

"Hammerhead" by The Offspring

oh, lord. i have had the wrorst freaking headache since shortly after lunch. it's still here, and that's why i'm not blogging about the debate (Matchup of the Century!!) or the economy (Wheeeeeeeeeeee!) or my M stuff from the library thing (even though that's way overdue now, because I should've blogged about it when we went to disneyland...and, man, that was almost a week ago areayd??).

Um. So, yeah. I'm just going to sit down and veg out and hhope that the politicians don't compound this headache any worse, because that might just result in my skull actually exploding.