Tuesday, October 5, 2010
It's been a long time.
How have you been?
I've been really busy being dead. You know... After you murdered me?*
Wait... That isn't what happened at all is it?
Well, in that case, allow me to apologize for my extended absence. Things have been more than a little bit hectic in my world over the past several months. And while I am sorry not to have had more time to share with the imaginary world, I would like to believe that the changes and growth that have taken place outside of the blogosphere makes up for some of that.
What has been taking up so much of my attention that I haven't had any to spare for keeping you all updated? Well, I think I am going to go with real life and leave it at that. Suffice it to say that almost everything that has happened has been positive and those few things that weren't were growing experiences and, therefore, led to positive results.
I will probably update you all on a good bit of it as time goes on. I have every intention (road to hell and all) of posting more regularly again but I make no promises regarding just how regular it is going to be. Perhaps it would be safer for me to say I am planning to post more often.
And so, I thought that I would just start by a simple little post to reorient myself. Mostly I just thought I would write something for the sheer joy of writing it and so, here I am.
For those who have missed my scathing wit commenting on your own blogs, I am going to be working on catching up over the next little while and will likely return to sharing my two cents after I know all the juicy details you have shared without me.
In closing, let me put it to you thusly, "Never fear! I is here!
There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.
*(The quote at the beginning of this post is from one of the promo videos for Portal 2, a video game set to release in February that has me moderately excited.)
Friday, April 16, 2010
I am not gone forever by any means. I have a ton of stuff I want to share and, I suspect a million or so posts from the rest of you to catch up on. I will be getting to it as soon as possible.
For now, I am going to keep this short and sweet and let you all know that I JUST GOT A NEW JOB OFFER!
Oh... Shit... Sorry for screaming there. Let me try that in a more calm tone of voice.
I JUST GOT AN OFFER FOR A NEW JOB!!!!
Wow. Sorry. Apparently I am too excited not to scream it right now. I am sure I will calm down soon.
In the meantime, wish me luck and all that. I will be back to give more updates as soon as I find myself free enough to focus and write something more.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
The way this one works is that you, as the recipient, are to share seven truths about yourself and then pass it on to seven more bloggers so that they may wash, rinse, repeat.
I thought that I would try to dream up some self truths to send out that I think many of you may not know about me. let's see how this goes...
1. I have four cats. Granted, the first three came with a free roommate as a sort of package deal but, well, there you have it. Four cats and a roommate, all female. Yeah... Sometimes that is scary.
2. I am an intensely spiritual person. Most of the time. Well... Quite often anyway... Alright, it has been a few years but I am working on it damnit! Let's call this one a truth in progress.
3. Terry Pratchett is one of my all time favorite authors. I sincerely doubt that is a surprise to many of you. The truth I am getting at here is that I have always had trouble deciding whether I prefer the Witches books or the Vimes books. They both appeal to so many (and such different!) parts of my mind.
4. I look good in orange. I have no idea why this should be so and, frankly, I refuse to actually wear it regardless. Nonetheless I am told that it is really quite fetching on me. Go figure.
5. As a child, I was apparently incredibly social and happy-go-lucky. Just goes to show that the person you knew as a child is not necessarily the person you will meet as a man. Just sayin'.
6. I follow two comics online... Questionable Content and Looking for Group. I have tried getting into others and I just can't do it. If anyone can work out what the two have in common, please let me know. If you know of another that has the same element involved, shoot that one my way as well.
7. I have two brothers and a sister. The brothers are roughly two and five years younger than I am. The sister is seventeen years younger than me. Let me tell you something. When, at 17, your mother tells you that she is pregnant there is only one possible reaction that you can have.... "You are WHAT!??? What the... Wait! You have SEX!!!???? ::vomit::"
And there you have it. Seven truths from me to you.
Now to pass it along...
Let's see... Seven worthy bloggers share this joy with.
1. Nik - I have to admit, I am somewhat curious as to what she will come out with for this so onto the list she goes. If you haven't yet, you can find her at Nik Cubed.
2. Tracy Lucas at The Wandering Brain. I haven't seen much from her lately and what I have seen has been far too serious. She needs to loosen up so hopefully she will have some fun with this one.
3. Pirates dig Chicks who Blog author, Jenn because I think she will have fun with it and I am all about the fun.
4. Melanie deserves the hell out of this so I am going to hand it off to her at The Dying Art of Keeping House.
5. Since I don't think I have seen her get this one yet (or at least I haven't noticed her doing her post for it), Joan Crawford from Things I Yell at You needs to be heard more. I miss her yells when she goes away for a while.
6. Because he is someone else I hope to hear more from, Nathan, my friend from Along the Pathway should write one of these. He invariably has good things to say so hopefully he will find time to do this post.
7. Finally, because I do indeed have a masochistic side (and trust me, I will be getting punched for this), I am going to use this to poke Manda. Her blog at About the Journey has been slow in taking off and is meant to be somewhat professional but, maybe, she can spin this into telling some professional truths. We will see.
Once again I want to say thank you to Postman and bid those mentioned to have fun with their own versions of this.
Woot! Finished! Next time I only get to tell one truth. Heheheh (insert shifty grin here) Now to close with a quote!... Hrmm...
The truth is rarely pure and never simple.
-Oscar Wilde on the pure and simple truth-
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Over the past couple of weeks, I have seen a number of people win blog awards from their fellow bloggers. In the comment section of one of these blogs, I asked how one would go about getting their blog entered into the running for one of these awards.
Little did I know that anyone would take me seriously...
Long story short, Jenn over at Pirates dig Chicks who Blog saw fit to grace me with the Creative Writer Award (Thanks Jenn, you made me giddy! Or at least you made me what passes for giddy in my world.) which, as I understand it, means that I get to tell you all about ten things that make me happy then pass the award on to the next person so that they can do the same.
(*For those of you who are scoffing at the word indefinable you can all bite me. :p We can talk later to discuss where and how hard.)
1. RPGs or (for the uninitiated**) Role Playing Games. In this category I am grouping things like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy, Shadowrun, Vampire the Masquerade and of course, the classic, Dungeons and Dragons. The genre is virtually endless and stretches from tabletop to computer; console to Live-Action. It is a wonderful escape from reality and a great time to be had with friends or by yourself. I mean let's face it; sometimes you just want to pretend the world doesn't exist. This beats trying to replace reality with a small trout.
(**You poor bastards)
2. Music! Just about any genre stemming from just about any era, I love it. Admittedly, I have more like for some than others but there is something to appreciate in just about all of it. Seriously. You ought to check some of them out. Hell, you may even want to sing along!
3. Friends. I don't have very many and the ones I do have are spread out and, mostly, far away but they are the stuff that makes getting through the days possible. I figure that there isn't much more for me to say on this particular topic.
4. Theater. Now, what I am referring to here is not exactly going to see shows but, rather, being involved in them. I have done musicals, plays, improv, tech, design and once (after a very long and vaguely terrifying night) writing. I have been absent from the theater world for a number of years now but it really is only a matter of time before the bug comes calling again and I am forced to dive back in with little to no regard for the consequences.
5. Believe it or not, cooking is going to make this list as well. I am not the best cook by any means and I will never be considered a chef but the things I make, I like to think I make pretty damned well. I enjoy puttering around with spices and believe recipes are meant to be loose guidelines. With that in mind, if you ever find yourself faced with the opportunity to taste something I have made, I recommend that you jump at it. If it sucks it will suck a LOT but if it is good, it just might be something you will try to duplicate.
6. Oh gods, books. I love books. Books books books books books. I can't sleep in a bedroom without at least some books nearby. My home is filled with books... Every room has it's own selection there to be perused or devoured. (Yes, every room.) Did I mention that books make me happy? And, oh yeah, books!
7. Projects. I like taking things on and conquering them. I try to learn new things all the time and explore what they are about and, eventually, become competent with them. I find that as a rule I do pretty well and reach competency fairly quickly. The two notable exceptions to this have been gardening and painting. Do not, under any circumstances, ask me to help with your plants or your painting. It will go horribly wrong. There are no exceptions to this rule.
8. Philosophy. I like to think and I like to talk with other people who think. Can't help it. It is the very definition of good times to me. Many are the times when conversations that were meant to be casual have carried on well into the next day. I love (and miss) those times.
9. Religion. Very similar to philosophy but on much less broad of a scope. I am what you might consider a theological philosopher. I like to learn about beliefs, rituals and histories and how the three are (or oftentimes are not) related. I have my own belief system, thank you very much, so I have no need or desire to be converted to yours. If, however, you find yourself open to a lengthy discussion on the merits of rituals or truthfulness of history, give me a call and we will find time to sit down when I don't have to be at work for a couple days.
10. For the final thing that I like and makes me happy I am going to be somewhat vague but I will site specific examples. I like community. I take joy in the sense of community I get when I am socializing with my friends. I enjoy the community I am privileged to take part in when I am around my apartment complex. I love (and occasionally long for) the sense of community that comes when a group of performers works together over any measurable length of time.
Phew! There it is! Ten things that make me happy without regard to order or preference. Gosh, listing things off like that is harder than it has any right to be.
What's next?... Oh yeah! I have to pass this little award on to someone else... Oh boy! there are so many deserving folks to choose from! I think I am going to tag Jerry, who has just started posting on his own blog over at Does This Look Normal. Have fun Jerry and for fuck's sake, allow comments already, would ya? Just go to settings, click on comments, click "show" and then figure out the rest. You are a big boy. I am sure you can do it.
Anyway, I will chat some more at you all sometime soon. I just found out I got another of of these to go through so that will be coming soon and I have another old movie review in the works that I think you will all enjoy.
We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I live in Austin Texas which means, basically, that the seasons consist of Spring, Summer, Cedar and Crickets.
Before now I have spent a year in Tennessee where the seasons are something more along the lines of Spring, Summer, Post-Summer and Grey. (Grey only lasts for around a month in case you were wondering.)
And before that I spent twenty-odd years in Connecticut which has the more traditional Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
Allow me to slowly induct you into today's rant. (I will keep this as brief as possible.)
This last week has been pretty nice here in Austin. Saturday and Sunday were both in the seventies (which happens to be my prime comfort zone) and Cedar was fading into an unpleasant memory.
Now this shit!
We have just plunged from gorgeous spring weather into mid-Autumn, a season that doesn't even belong in Texas let alone during March!
Seriously folks, Complete with leaves falling off the freaking trees!
This is not okay.
I mean, I miss having an Autumn. I miss the crisp air and colorful leaves. I miss the piles of fallen leaves and watching kids jump into them. I miss the smell of Fall blending with pumpkin pie and hayrides.
But this is March in Texas! It needs to not happen now and it needs to never happen after a Spring tease like the one we just had!
I have a porch that needs to be planted here Universe! Knock it off with the bullshit games and give us back Spring already!
Okay. I am done. I feel better now.
Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
-Henry David Thoreau-
Sunday, March 14, 2010
I went out with my roommate and was actually social!
I left the house for reasons other than work (which is something I have been avoiding lately due to being just plain freakin' tired) and went to a friends house where there was visiting and eating and making of clay pots and sharing of knowledge and, in the case of my roommate, cutting of plants.
To be honest, it was moderately exciting. (Alright, it is also a little bit sad that something so simple is a source of excitement in my life these days, but so what?)
What is more, is that the night didn't end there! When we got home we actually sat outside on our porch and visited with one of our neighbors for a couple of hours!
How cool is that?
We are trying (with a modicum of success I might add) to forge a community here in our little world and being outside visiting seems like a damned good time and a very definite step in the right direction.
Since I simply can't get through a day without my computer, (Trust me, I know exactly how sick and sad that is. Cope.) I also spent a few minutes on the intarwubs surfing the blog-o-sphere and made a new friend here too!
Since she is the only one with a viable web presence, I would like to go ahead and introduce you all to Sonshine (whom I shall be referring to as Sonny, henceforth) from Sonshine Thoughts. She seems pretty cool so far and I want to go ahead and publicly congratulate her for reaching her one-hundredth blog posting! To commemorate the occasion she is having a contest of sorts wherein she will be giving away a handcrafted owl to the lucky winner.
Phew! That was a lot to spit out after a busy day!
I think I shall go now into the Land of Lullaby for a few hours. Have a great night/day/evening or whatever other part if the day in which you fond yourself reading my ramblings!
Words not only affect us temporarily; they change us. They socialize or unsocialize us.
Friday, March 12, 2010
I find that it takes a good deal of work for me to maintain a positive outlook on life. Quite often, it seems, this fact makes it appear that I am a pessimistic individual who finds no joy in life.
I want to make it absolutely clear just how far that is from the truth.
Certainly, it is true that I don't go around singing about sunshine and roses. Likewise, it has to be said that my outlook does not lend itself to expecting the best out of situations. Life and the Universe have made it abundantly clear that such expectations and attitudes are unwelcome and will be punished severely.
I take a great deal of joy out of the world. I laugh often and whether you see it or not, the happiness that I feel is real and present.
I hope for the best. Despite the repeated attempts of the Universe to smack me back down into the pits of despair, (Don't even think about trying to escape.) I go through life day by day hoping for good things to come. Rather than spend my time dwelling on the worst possible outcome to a situation, I choose to be prepared for either eventuality but to maintain a cautious optimism that the best case scenario may turn out to be true this time.
Disappointment is no bar to progress. Each time I fail to be surprised by wonderful outcomes it reaffirms for me that, one day, the tables will turn and I will come out on top.
I strive to improve my life and my situation and hold on to an unwavering resolve that one day I shall persevere.
Coincidentally, I also work at building up the attitudes and perceptions of those around me. (Albeit with varying degrees of success.) I offer support to those in my life who need it while tempering it with occasional and poignant doses of reality. (Just to keep them in check. As I said before, cautious optimism is the way to go here. Blind optimism only leads to deep and disturbing mental cracks.)
I guess I just wanted to say that those people who don't know this about me would do well to learn and those who do, well, I suspect that you are in the minority and would appreciate your help in straightening out the rest of the thick buggers around who are still in the dark.
What? I can end with two quotes if I choose to. I think both of these deserve some thought from each of us from time to time.
There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Well, it's that time again... Time to focus my attention (and therefore yours as well) on a book that should be (and often is) considered a classic.
The increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhikers Trilogy which, when all is said and done, consists of five books and a short story.
But Frank! If there are five books (and a short story I remind you) how can it be considered a trilogy?
In answer I can only say the following; Trust me.
How can I describe to you the majesty of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?
The Hitchhiker's Guide tells the story of Arthur Dent, an Earthman turned hitchhiker when the earth is destroyed in order to make way for an interstellar space byway.
It also tells the story of Ford Prefect, a friend of Arthur's hailing from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Beetleguise and not from Guildford as he had previously claimed.
It follows along in the footsteps of Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed three-armed former President of the Galaxy who has abdicated his position in favor of stealing the Heart of Gold, a spaceship equipped with the most powerful propulsion system ever devised; The Improbability Drive.
The book tells the story of Tricia McMillan or Trillian, an astrophysicist who became a Hitchhiker after hooking up with Zaphod at a party and realizing that the Earth had nothing more to offer her.
Oh yeah... There is an android named Marvin too but he is sort of depressing so I'm not going to tell you too much about him. Don't worry, he completely understands and will probably just stand in front of the engines when we fire them up so that he doesn't have to think about himself anymore either.
Most importantly, however, it is the story of that singularly outstanding book, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the most important reference for any interstellar hitchhiker and the masterpiece of the great publishing houses of Ursa Minor. The book that reminds us in large, bold print right on its cover; Don't Panic!
So slip in your babel fish, grab your towel and sit back to enjoy a hilarious and sometimes senseless trip to the stars in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
On the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much - the wheel, New York, wars and so on - whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man - for precisely the same reasons.
-The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams-
Friday, February 26, 2010
I know, I know... It makes me cry too.
As it is now, I am sitting at Scooters Coffee House writing this on my laptop. Yay coffee, anyway.
I don't know how I did it but, as it turns out, there is nothing I can do without a tech coming to the house. He is supposed to be there sometime tomorrow but, (my luck being what it is) I am not holding my breath over it.
In the mean time, I have a half dozen different topics in mind to tackle when I get back so you might want to brace yourself for a slurry of postings.
And to those of you who have been missing my smart-assed comments on your postings, I will catch up as soon as I am able.
Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge.
-A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace by John Perry Barlow-
Saturday, February 20, 2010
What I am saying is: I haven't forgotten about you all. I just have a good deal more rewriting and editing to do before I will be able to share what I have written over the past week and change.
That being said, I want to take an opportunity to share something positive with everyone.
I learned a couple weeks ago that a couple of friends of mine have decided to buy a house. Yay them! I hope they realize that this means I will be crashing at their place whenever I am in trouble at home.
Then, just the other day I got a text from the afore mentioned friends letting me know that they had received word that construction on the place they are buying has commenced! Once again I say yay them! Oh yeah, he also mentioned that a building down the road had been blown up by a plane but since it was the IRS, who cares?
Back to the topic at hand...
Because I am a good friend, I will likely make myself available to help them move. Because I can carry a couch by myself, they will most likely take me up on it.
Beer! They come in pints!?!
May-haps one fine day, I will once again own a home of my very own. When that day comes, I want it known that those closest to me will always have a place to crash should they have need. Home grown food will abound and great home cookin' will fill the air with it's sweet perfume.
Hopefully, by then, I will have found the woman who can keep me in the fashion to which I have not yet become accustomed.
Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fin invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Alright, I get it. This movie was a box office flop. It got some of the worst reviews I have read and even my friends strongly recommend that you stay away from watching it.
I am here to tell you why they are wrong.
Let's start with some of the key elements of the film.
Let's make a full length feature live action film based on a children's cartoon that was, in essence, a half hour long commercial for action figures.
How much can you actually expect from this?... Go into this movie with your expectations set for what it is. It's a nostalgia trip and a commercial. Don't set yourself up for disappointment by going into this expecting cinematic greatness.
Once again... These are based on children's toys. I don't know who the hell people are kidding thinking that they are going to be some kind of deeply three dimensional characterizations. Seriously folks, bear this in mind... GI Joe is a pose-able action figure that didn't even have workable opposable thumbs.
There were only three folks in this movie whom I had ever seen before. Dennis Quiad, who happens to be a wonderful acter who tend to play the worst roles he can find. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun. Enough said. And Christopher Eccleston, the guy who did season one of Doctor Who and had a briefly recurring role on Heroes a while back.
Bearing this in mind, I once again remind you to set your expectations accordingly.
In fairness, there were other faces in there that you will probably recognize but they all add up to the same thing.
They are rehashing a franchise here so they have to take characters many of us remember fondly and breathe new life into them by reintroducing them as it they were new. This movie isn't meant to be a terrific story. It is meant to introduce these characters and set the background for the stories that are meant to come after it!
I guess that what I am saying is that this is the best worst movie of all time. Full of cheesy nostalgia and cruddy two dimensional characters with no plot to speak of. It was amazing. Watch it. And if you have already seen it and were disappointed, adjust your expectation and watch it again.
Scarlett: [About Snake Eyes] He doesn't talk.
Breaker: He doesn't say.
-GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra-
Monday, February 8, 2010
Over the course of the weekend that I realized that I am more anti-social than ever.
I don't particularly like people. (Which makes it bloody hysterical whenever there are customer comments about what great service and connections people receive from me.) As a rule, I would prefer to interact with folks through the computer so that I don't have to worry about whether my facial expressions and inflection match what I am trying to say.
I laugh my ass off about death and, as a rule, find it funny when people fall down or hit their heads. I'm not saying that I can't sympathize about all of that. I do. Only that I prefer my own warped take on things as opposed to forcing myself to conform to what other people think I should think.
I am a dork, geek, nerd and anything else that seems to fit into that category of people. I used to run my very own ghost-hunting group and anyone who thinks that is weird or sick is, clearly, never going to get me.
I find things funny. I mean most things. No matter what the situation is, I almost always see humor in it. That seems to make people uncomfortable around me. Remember folks... It isn't that I am laughing inappropriately. It is just that you haven't been exposed to the punchline yet.
My roommate and I share a wonderful and, somewhat, unique relationship. She likes to remind me that I smell funny, dress weird and that nobody likes me. (Owing, in large part, to the facts that I smell funny and dress weird.) I love her dearly and verse-visa and think our relationship is generally more respectful and accepting than most others I have had. And no, for those who are wondering, we do not share any kind of romantic or sexual relationship between ourselves. (So all of you smart, sexy, single girls out there ought to call me! :D )
I prefer the company of a good book (or oftentimes even a bad book) to the company of strangers. I would always prefer the company of my friends but most of them live far away from me. More's the pity.
My friends are the dearest people in the world to me and when Armageddon hits, I expect them all to hide behind me and let me take the brunt of the blast. I love each and every one of them more than life itself and if they don't know that, they should.
Also, just because I don't talk to you every day, don't think you don't still qualify as my friends.
I am a lazy bastard. I work my ass off and get a lot of shit done, primarily, so that I don't have to do it again later.
There you go... Just a little bit off the surface of me for you all to chew on and think over. Hope you all had a great weekend and I will talk at you more as the week progresses.
Personality has the power to open many doors, but character must keep them open.
-Elmer G Letterman-
Thursday, February 4, 2010
The kids have been kicked out of the room. We are all finished with our pre-gaming snack (mmmm pasghetti) and we are ready to go. Suddenly, the new guy (on whom I am reserving judgment until more time has passed) asks the question, "Do you prefer Laurel and Hardy or the Three Stooges?"
Everyone took a deep breath as they prepared to blurt out their answers. For my part, I was still considering because I really think that Abbott and Costello ought to be among the choices.
I never did find out what anyone would have chosen.
"Why not?" you ask, sure now that the purpose for this entry is right around the corner.
Because the little one in the corner suddenly piped up with the question, "Who are Laurel and Hardy?"
Then my brain stopped working. It just shut down! I couldn't even believe the question had been asked, let alone by someone I consider a friend.
An hour or two later, when my brain drive finally kicked in, the first thing I did was immediately turn to her husband and berate him for allowing such a state to persist through their dating. (Never mind however long into their marriage we are now!)
I could go on about this for hours but, instead, I am going to bottom line this for you.
Folks, if you know someone whose knowledge of classics is lacking, fix it. I don't care if it is classic comedy, movies, television, books, comics or anything else that has been around and endured long enough to earn the title of classic. Sit them down and educate them about things. Do it for them. Do it for yourself.
But most of all, do it because, if you don't... I will hurt you. Seriously!
Costello: Look, look, look, you got a pitcher?
Costello: The pitcher's name?
Costello: You don't want to tell me today?
Abbott: I'm telling you then.
Costello: Well go ahead.
Costello: What time?
Abbott: What time what?
Costello: At what time tomorrow are you going to tell me who's pitching?
Abbott: Now listen, Who is not pitching. Who is on...
Costello: I'll break your arm you say who's on first! I want to know, what's the pitcher's name?
Abbott: What's on second!
Costello: I don't know!
Both: Third base!
-Who's on First by Abbott and Costello-
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
For those of you who were with me then, watch and listen to this video again. For those of you who have more recently come to follow along with me, please, check this out and really give it your attention.
Since you are here, I am fairly certain you can read so follow along and see where this takes you.
It touches me every time I watch and listen to it. I find myself sitting up straighter as I listen to the second half and wanting to find a way to change the world for the better. I am doing what I can in my little corner. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to see what you can do in yours.
What do you think?
How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world?
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
The purpose of life is not to be happy - but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.
As it has become my custom, I wanted to leave you with a quote to think on. Since I couldn't decide on one in particular, I had to narrow it down to three choices. Which one do you think I should have gone with? Or do you have an even better one you would have chosen?
Friday, January 29, 2010
Let me start off by saying that, if this were to ever happen to me, the world as a whole would be likely to face my wrath and I am certain I would find a way to make it hurt for more people than not.
Thankfully, it is not my story I am going to unfold for you but, rather, a plague that haunts altogether too many brave souls out there in the world. (Of course, with the way I feel about things with more than four legs, one person is too many but apparently this happens to a lot of people!)
As I understand this epidemic, it is a type of waking dream or hallucination with a healthy and frightening dose of realism thrown in just to fuck with folks.
Upon waking, those people suffering from this malady see a large spider hanging over their beds. In each and every one of the cases I have read about, the person suffering from the hallucination has just come out of sleep and is vividly aware of their surroundings. With the unwelcome and unwanted addition of a large spider hovering above them or climbing on a nearby wall or ceiling.
Holy shit. That alone would be enough to cause me to bring the walls of the world crashing down around all of us.
They are able to clearly see and distinguish the spider with an unnerving level of description. Even to the point of being able to make out individual hairs on the spider's legs. (Excuse me while I shiver violently for just a moment.)
Some of these people don't even have any kind arachnid related fear! (Fools!) I know one person who this is actually happening to (hence the fact that research into the topic has taken place) and, my hand to whatever god you believe in, I have watched her stare in beauty and amazement at living spiders and their web-like creations. (In case I haven't made it abundantly clear, I think they damned things are hell-spawn and stare at her in morbidly fascinated fear when I have seen her looking at it in such a way. For my part, I keep my distance and to hell with anyone who thinks me less of a man for that fact.)
Anyway, a few moments or minutes later the spider just... goes away...
The moment it occurs to them that, "this can't possibly be real," it isn't!
Sometimes, they watch it fade from view. In other instances, it just isn't there any more, logically, prompting the person to get out of bed and look for the fallen spider.
I swear to god guys. This is freaky shit!
Once the person becomes aware enough to realize that the spider wasn't real, they are able to return to sleep easily or even just get up and cheerfully go about their day.
I can honestly say that, in no way, is this condition made better by the fact that it fades in such a manner.
If I were to find myself in the shoes of one of these poor, poor souls, my dread of waking up would stop me from ever going to sleep at all!
Now, I should let you know that there are apparently some other specific things that are often associated with these awakening hallucinations. I can't for the life of me remember what they all are but, apparently, one woman has come to be used to having to reach between a stranger's legs to turn off her alarm clock each morning.
Throughout my life, I have suffered from a number of different sleep disorders and I have known people who suffered from most of the other ones out there. There are clinics in the world dedicated to studying, understanding and (hopefully) finding cures for all of these ailments. Yet this one in particular doesn't even have a name!
It seems that the symptoms have been explained away as belonging to a number of other disorders but nobody has looked into whether or not this could be an entirely new disorder in it's own right.
Come on Docs! We owe it to these people to find them a solution! Nobody should ever have to wake up to a gigantic monstrous spider danging over their heads!
Somebody needs to get on top of this now, before it happens to me because no place is safe from an enraged irishman being chased by bugs that only he can see. There is no calming someone like that. Trust me. I know of what I speak!
Personally, I think we ought to name the disease "There-is-a-big-hairy-multi-legged-fucking-boogie-man-hovering-above-me but-he-can't-possibly-be-real-so-that's-alright-then Syndrome". We can call it "Fuck That Shit Disorder" for short.
Spider venom comes in many forms. It can take a long while to discover the full effects of a bite. Naturalists have pondered this for years: there are spiders whose bite can cause the place bitten to rot and die, sometimes more than I year after it was bitten. As to why spiders do this, the answer is simple. It's because they think this is funny, and they don't want you to ever forget them.
-Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman-
Thursday, January 28, 2010
In the meantime, I will at least make sure I get my three blogs a week up so I am posting this one as a sort of make-up exam.
Let me tell you a thing about Austin...
Austin is a great place to live most of the time. It's 65 degrees outside right now as opposed to the negative 10 I used to have to put up with at this time of year. I just came inside from sitting on my front porch enjoying the lovely, misty weather and, I have to say, I am rather pleased about that.
The trouble with Austin, however, is the trade off.
I don't have to deal with winter but I do have to deal with Cedar.
This is a Cedar tree. If you see one, I strongly encourage you to burn it to the ground and salt the earth! You can do a little ritual dance on the spot for years to come and, hey, who doesn't enjoy a good bonfire?
I am an asthmatic smoker (read: fucking moron) and my allergies, without fail, go straight to affecting my breathing.
Holy shit, do I miss oxygen sometimes.
The other night I woke up having an asthma attack so bad that I was panicking about how in the nine hells I was going to make it clear to my lovely and wonderful roommate that I needed her to get up and take me to the hospital.
I was trying to work out, through my sleep addled, panic induced fog of a brain, how to get my point across to her when I couldn't draw enough air to form words!
Don't worry. I got my shit under control before dying and all that. But you bet your ass that I explained to her that me standing over her in bed pounding my chest translates to "Woman! Get some clothes on your ass and drive me to an emergency room!"
No way in hell that I am going to risk not being able to get that point across to her in the future!
Anyway! I suppose that what I am saying here is that, while I am slightly apologetic for deviating from my schedule, I will get there in time. It will get easier once nature stops trying to murder me in my sleep.
In the meantime, sweet readers, I bid you ado. I will talk at you all again soon and in the meantime I leave you with these words...
Enjoy them and try to find a way to work them into conversation over the next couple days. It could be fun for all of us!
I used to wake up at 4am and start sneezing, sometimes for five hours. I tried to find out what sort of allergy I had but finally came to the conclusion that it must be an allergy to consciousness.
Monday, January 25, 2010
I have played tabletop RPGs since i was around 8 and have played computer games for as long as I have owned a computer. For the past 5 years or so, I have primarily played World of Warcraft.
Through WoW, I have met some great people and formed some lasting friendships. In fact, for those who dont already know, my roommate and I met in the game and have lived wonderfully together for the past 3 years or so.
Not that gaming is all we do. We have jobs and hobbies and friends and all that. In fact, we recently decided to take a sabbatical from the world of Azeroth and have only recently returned there.
Now to the meat of my topic for the day...
We recently decided to recreate the toons we met on and return them to their home server. To do so, we rolled the toons as Death Knights and worked their storylines to encompass the change as well as their absence from the server.
Oh boy, what a trip it is!
This is the first time these characters have ventured, in game, onto the continent of Northrend. Thankfully, with the WotLK expansion things have improved quite a bit. Blizzard went back to its lore and brought it into game to grow and be lived by our characters. We have been following in the footsteps of Arthas and watching as this true hero falls from grace.
It's pretty damned cool.
Now, granted, my roommate is a lore junky and knows more about whats going on than, is suspect, some of the games developers. It is both amazing and entertaining to watch her get so excited when, only moments after telling me some bit of lore, we get to see it unfold in game. The squeals of glee are enough to keep me interested in what comes next for quite some time.
I supopse that the whole point of this entry is to continue what I started Friday and let you all know that quality entertainment is right around the corner. Come play WoW with us... Fifteen dollars a month gets you one movie and half a bucket of popcorn -OR- you get unlimited play time in a rich imaginary world where you get to run around with me and my avatar!
Come and play!
As the terrible war against the Lich King continues, the proud defenders of Azeroth fight to secure a lasting peace...
But there can be, no peace!
-World of Warcraft Cataclysm Trailer-
Friday, January 22, 2010
Well, I'm here to help!
There is a movie out there that I have introduced many people to. Everyone I have forced to watch it has been amazed and thrilled to see it. Somehow, however, nobody has ever heard of it before I bring it up. I'm not quite sure what that says about me but that's neither here nor there.
Now... This is where I am going to give you some spoilers so if you want to avoid them, stop reading and just go watch it for yourself.
For those of you who are still reading along, PLEASE don't allow yourself to be deterred by what you are about to read. For some reason that I just can't quite understand, people have a strong aversion to watching this film for the first time. It's funny because no one has had an aversion to watching it a second time.
The story starts out with two women attempting to live out their dream of preforming show tunes by working at an airport cocktail lounge. The two then witness a murder over some stolen drugs and are forced to go into hiding.
Where can they possibly go to hide where nobody would think to look for them?
Who would think to look for two show tune obsessed women in a town without anything resembling culture?
But our two heroines just can't live without their passion so they find a way to, once again, get involved in musical theater.
They become drag queens.
Now they are in hiding as women dressed as men dressed as women! It's the perfect disguise!
Connie (Nia Vardalos from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Coincidentally, she wrote this one too!) meets a guy (Jeff, played by David Duchovny from The X-Files) and falls in love but he has no interest in pursuing a relationship with another guy so she is stuck.
Meanwhile, the stage show they have started is growing in popularity and who happens to see them on the news but Al and Mikey, (Nick Sandow and Dash Mihok who offer stellar performances that are well worth a laugh or two.) the two guys they left when they went into hiding!
Carla (Toni Collette, most recently from United States of Tara) is thrilled to see them since she has been secretly calling and hanging up on Mikey anyway but then they learn that the murdering gangster and his thug, Tibor (Boris McGiver... No shit, that's his name! If you really want to know, this character alone makes the entire movie worthwhile and the rest is just fun filler.) are coming to LA and they have to run all over again!
Suffice it to say, Mikey and a kitten show up just in time to save they day and, thanks to the intervention of Debbie Reynolds, everyone lives happily ever after. Seriously folks, the movie is fluff. But as fluff goes this one is jammed packed with awesome elements that add up to a wonderfully entertaining party where you get to learn which of your friends are closet musical fans! (I promise, by the end of the movie they WILL sing along!)
Girlfriends, big or small, thin or fat worship that body! It's the only one you've got!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
It's Wednesday and according to my new blogging schedule, I need to post something here.
So here it is... My admission of stupidity...
I am 30 years old and I still rely on a spell checker to spell words like Wednesday.
I know, it's sad because it's true. But it's funny because it's sad.
Left to my own devices, I invariably spell it as either wendsday which I know is wrong or wedsday which just looks retarded.
It could be because I didn't learn to read until much later than I was supposed to which leaves me without all those helpful vocabulary (Which, coincidentally, I also have trouble spelling. Every time I try I find a different wrong place to use the "L".) lessons you all had in grade school. Or maybe it's just because I ain't too terribly bright.
Either way it is annoying as sin and therefore, I would like to petition to simplify the spelling of Wednesday and any other word that I cannot reliably spell. If you have a word that you would like to see included on this list, I encourage you to add it below in the comments section along with your preferred spelling so we can get on top of this shit!
Gupta Rajan: Do you have an appointment?
Victor Navorski: Yes! 9:30! Tuesday! [smiles proudly]
Gupta Rajan: [with ill disguised contempt] Tuesday! I hate Tuesday!
-The Terminal, 2004-
Monday, January 18, 2010
This time around, as I continue with that recollection, I am going to mention one that is funny because it isn't true. Some of us might wish it were true... Some might even try to make it true one day. (If you do, I will totally buy the book... Especially if it is number five or eleven!) None-the-less, I hope this one gives you at least a chuckle.
Remember... It's OK to laugh at this. I am the last person you ever have to worry about telling people how sick and twisted their sense of humor is.
So, without further ado, "Children's Titles that Never Quite Made It..."
1. Why Can't Mr. Fork and Mrs. Electical Outlet be Friends?
2. Mommy and Daddy are Getting a Divorce and It's All Your Fault
3. Pop Goes the Hamster! (And other great microwave games!)
4. Why Nobody Likes You
5. Daddy Drinks because You Cry
6. Horton Hires a Ho (by Dr. Seuss)
7. Daddy Hits You to Help You Learn
8. Running with Scissors
9. Things Rich Kids Have But You Never Will!)
10. Curious George and the Busy Intersection
11. You are Different and That Is Bad
12. The Kids Guide to Hitchhiking
13. Strangers Have the Best Candy
14. Some Kittens Can Fly!
15. The Little Sissy Who Snitched
And so on... and so on... ad infinitum.
I suspect that, by now, there are thousands of these out there to be found. I have even seen some with book covers that have been created for them!
And with that, I leave you all to add to the list or even go out and find a more complete list for your enjoyment! Talk at you soon!
You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book (Lady Chatterley, for instance), or you take a trip, or you talk with Richard, and you discover that you are not living; that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernation are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death, Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. they picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Gary was a good man. He grew up in a small town called Frost, Minnesota and left home (read: ran away from home) when he was 17 years old to join the US Marine Corps. He went to Vietnam, where he served as a combat medic gunner aboard a helicopter that flew in to gather and abscond with wounded soldiers. Like many veterans of war, and many Vietnam veterans in particular, he was ill used and came back even more fucked up than he was when he left.
I don't know all of Gary's life story. I missed being there for most of it and all I really witnessed was the final twelve years of his life.
I do know that he served time in prison for arson. It seems that his ex-wife let him build a house for them then abruptly told him that he wasn't welcome in it. He burned the place to the ground with a zippo and some gasoline and away he went.
He was in prison for 12 years and was released to parole with time off for good behavior. Some time after that he met my mother and, eventually, married her and had a child. My sister is 13 years old now and is as obnoxious as ever. Even from 2500 miles away.
Gary did a lot for my brothers and I while he was with my mother. He bought and remodeled our home back in Connecticut. He supported us in every way he knew how through some truly screwed up shit that went on in all of our lives. And he was shit on by the universe because he trusted people.
Now, I am not saying Gary was blameless in all things. Far from it... He was stupid about some things and chose to trust the wrong people altogether more often than is good for any man. Unfortunately, I suspect his reasons not to trust were every bit as valid as the reasons he should.
Toward the end, a lot of things went on that I wasn't witness to. That being the case, I am not going to air my dirty laundry here for you all to read. Suffice it to say that I don't think that the last little bit of his life was all it should have been.
I find I have a great deal of anger and bitterness inside of me over the way things played out. I suspect that, had I been physically in attendance for the last two or three years, things would have played out differently.
I'm not saying they would have been better. Just different.
Anyway, I said before that Gary had his faults. He did. Many of them and some more forgivable than others. I just really wish he could have been happier in the end.
I know that he got to go home and say goodbye to his mother before he passed on. I wasn't privy to any of their conversations but, I hope, some things were laid to rest that had been festering for a number of years. I also have no idea whether or not he was able to say his goodbyes to those he loved most in the ways I think he would have liked to.
I sincerely hope that my sister knows how much he loved her. He called her his miracle and his angel more times than I can remember and I have some fear that she doesn't really know the depth of his love for her. I know there were times when a parent seems the meanest person in the world to a child. I hope that she realizes that what she perceived as her father being mean and unreasonable, was in fact his struggle to show a deep and abiding love. He wanted the absolute best for her and would stand for nothing less. His frustrations, more often than not, were with his inability to adequately articulate his emotions.
I hope that my brothers understand that he loved them as truly and deeply as if they were his own children. He cared for and struggled to provide for them, and myself, in the best ways he knew how. Gary was not a man who was ever given an easy road to travel and he put himself on an even harder path by choosing to love and care for us. He sacrificed a good bit of his health in doing so and, whether the decisions were correct or not, he made his choices based on what was best for his family and we were a part of that.
I hope my mother knows he loved her as well. Things were not always good between them and neither one of them did much to make it any easier on one another... But he loved her as truly and deeply as any man has ever loved his wife.
I just needed to get some of this out there. I saw this picture the other day and it hurt a lot. This is not the man I remember. This is a man who was destroyed by his pain and sickness. The tears I see behind those eyes were not always there. Gary did have a great deal of joy in his life. I just wish his end could have been less riddled riddled with hurt. I wish that the last picture I had of him showed me his old smile.
I hope he knew, in the end, that we all loved him just as much as he did us.
Good bye Gary. May you be forty years in heaven before the devil knows you're dead.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
The first email, and as I recall this was eerily accurate, was a list of stupid questions people ask in bookstores. These are the ones I remember most clearly because they actually happened to me.
1. Excuse me, where is your information desk? (They are, of course, asking this question at the information desk which has a HUGE sign atop it proclaiming it as such.)
2. How do you get a Library Card? (My hand to whatever god you believe in, it happens. They get inordinately perplexed when you tell them they have to go to the L-I-B-R-A-R-Y.)
3. (Speaking of Libraries...) Uh... Excuse me... Are you allowed to speak here? (I was talking to my boss at a reasonably loud volume at the time.)
4. Hey, y'all got books with pictures of George Washington in 'em? (For those of you who are unsure of this one... Photography wasn't invented until some time after his death. And trust me, he wanted photographs.)
5. Hi, I need a book with photographs of Dinosaurs in it please! (Once again... Photography came later. I offered him books with drawings, paintings and photos of their skeletons. He treated me like I was an idiot for not giving him the right thing. He insisted that his son needed actual photographs of Dinosaurs. Eventually I had to just walk away.)
6. Sir, where is your magazine section? (Asked while shelving magazines along the ENTIRE DAMNED WALL LINED WITH PERIODICALS!)
7. Where do I find that book that's out by Harry Potter? (This was early on and at the time, nobody wanted to believe me when I told them that it was by J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter was part of the title. I swear, people would thrust the books back at me and insist that I had no idea what I was talking about. One person even went so far as to call me an idiot and asked to speak to my manager... And just so everyone knows... There was actually a book, once upon a time, by a gentleman named Harry Potter. It was a title dealing with economics and is no longer in print. I ordered it from an out of print book search twice for particularly dense, asshole customers.)
8. Hey... Do you guys ever sell these books? (No sir! If you can't read it while you are here then you ought to just leave it on the shelf!)
9. Where is your fiction section? (Now, not only did we have a section marked "Fiction and Literature" but there were several prominently marked sections for each genre as well. For my part, I could never resist showing them to the religion section and dropping them off with the Bibles.)
There were probably around twenty or thirty other questions on the list that were each accurate, hysterical and frighteningly true. If anyone knows any others, please let me know. If you know where the complete list can be found please send me a link to it!
Anyway... I hope you have all enjoyed my anecdotes for each question. Next week I will resume racking my brains to see how many inappropriate children's titles I can remember.
I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, "Where's the self-help section?" She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I am going to kick off a potentially never-ending series of movie reviews here. I plan to focus on movies people should have seen years ago. (At the very least, if you weren't around back then, your parents should have introduced them to you. If they haven't, you are well within your rights to accuse them of child abuse and file for custodial divorce. They are clearly not doing their jobs properly.) If you haven't seen any of the movies I decide to focus on, see them. Now. Or else...
Anyway... Here is some background for those of you who might have missed it...
A while ago, shortly after I started this here blog thingie, I did a couple of posts pertaining to old movies people ought to see during childhood or early adolescence. I am fairly certain that a fair few of them will be reviewed here as well but for now I am starting with one that wasn't on my list last time around.
Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!
Who hasn't seen this film?... Anybody?... (I am choosing to believe that you are all rational, well adjusted people who are aware of the glory we are addressing here.) Alright, good... Now, is there anyone here who didn't like it? (As it turns out there are people out there who didn't. The first time I met one of them, I would have sworn they were just saying that to fuck with me.)
Gods I hope not.
I remember this as being one of the best movies of my childhood and, having watched it again last night, it is still one of the best movies out there.
We learned so very very much from this film. First of all, Michael Keaton (I know you remember the old Batman films.. he was the Batman that started it all back then.) can do comedy! I don't mean Mr. Mom-tough guy style comedy here either. I mean balls-out, loud, physical humor! Hell, a lot of folks I knew back then had no idea it was even him and refused to believe it until the box was shoved under their noses. I suspect that, were the movie to be done these days, Jim Carey would be cast as Betelgeuse and I suspect that the world would be a little bit sadder for that. I know for a fact that I would be.
But wait, there's more! This is the movie that, for all intents and purposes, gave us Winona Ryder and, through her, the birth of Goth! Before this, she did two other roles in movies I have never heard of and afterward she was a staple of my generation. A couple years later she would give us both Welcome Home Roxie Carmichael and Edward Scissorhands. If that weren't enough, she would come back after another two years to become the gothic wet dream that was Bram Stoker's Dracula. (Oh come on now... If you are now or ever were a goth, you know as well as I do that you had some very specific fantasies surrounding that film...)
There were plenty of other notable faces in the movie for those with fuzzy memories as well. Geena Davis played her role to a T. (The same role we see her in just about every time we see her at all. Alright, that's not really true. She can act well enough. Anyone know where she is now? Last I heard she was trying to become an Olympic archer or some such. Swear to god!)
Alec Baldwin allowed us to keep up the fantasy that the Baldwin Brothers could act. (And yes, I do know for sure it was Alec. Admittedly I had to go double check on IMDB but I am dead certain now!)
And Glenn Shadix defined an entire career as Otho. (I mean it. he defined his entire career. I can't see him as anything or anyone else ever!)
Oh yeah. Jeffery Jones was there too but since he was playing the same role as he has played in every other movie ever, I didn't think it worth more than a one line note.
Anyway... About the movie...
I thought it was good. Two thumbs up and all that.
Oh hell... Just go watch it again. You know you want to!
And now to find the perfect quote to wrap this up...
We've come for your daughter, Chuck.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Gods, how I love that reality. It serves me as a reminder of just how much I am looking forward to living my life as an old man.
It also works wonders, I think, in reminding us all to have some bloody fun in our every day lives. Now, I am not telling you to go out and get a spare steering wheel or anything... But if you happen to have one laying around somewhere, could I maybe borrow it?
Seriously though folks... There isn't a whole lot of point to living our day to day lives if we don't have any joy in them. Go out and find some and remind yourself to enjoy living!
Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.
Shared pain is lessened; shared joy is increased.
-Swedish Proverb and it's transition to the motto of Callahan's Place from the mind of Spider Robinson-
Last year I worked my ass off to make a lot of positive changes in my life. A number of them even grew into something wonderful before I allowed the stress of work and the holidays to drag me back down into the pits I used to live in.
But no more!
I am back to blogging and I will be doing my best to make this a regular thing again. I am going to do some book reviews for my literary minded readers. (Although, I should warn you, I don't promise to make it about new releases. I expect I will mostly tell you about the books I know and love in an effort to bring some great stories an writers into your lives.) And, as always, I will share my thoughts about whatever else comes to mind.
For the here and now, I just wanted to let you all know I am back to it so you should watch for updates from me again. I am giving myself the goal of posting three times a week from here on out. I am unwilling to go so far as to tell you what days of the week but I will do everything in my power to at least get three posts up between Monday and Sunday.
To that end... If anyone has a topic or thought they would like me to spew forth about, please share them with me! I think it would be fun to try to incorporate some reader feedback as well so, for the love of everything good, please give me some! My comment sections should be for discussion between all of us so don't be afraid to use it!
I guess what I mean is that the new plan is the same as the old plan. Move forward, build momentum, change the world. Even if it is only my little corner of things, I expect the change will be great!
All that being said, I am going to move on for now. I look forward to chatting with you all soon!.
P.S. For those whose blogs I follow, I will be catching up and commenting again soon. I have missed you all as much as I hope you have missed me.
I was hanging out the other day chatting with a friend of mine about some things. The first topic we had to discuss (as is the case whenever the chance presents itself) was the most recent release from Terry Pratchett.
Unseen Academicals was a great book although, not quite up to what we have grown to expect from Terry. Maybe expect isn't the right term anymore though. It would be more true for me to say that the book wasn't on par with what we have come to hope for from Terry.
Not too long ago, Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer Syndrome. When the announcement came it was met by a worldwide wail of horror and disappointment from millions of his fans worldwide. Was this it? Would we never see another Pratchett novel on the shelves? Was Discworld doomed to forever stand still and never again move forward into interesting times?
Then one day, we all stood with baited breath to hear the announcement that a new novel, Nation was going to be released. When the big day came we flocked to the bookstores in droves to purchase this new offering. Nation was not a Discworld novel but, well, who cares! Pratchett is Pratchett and we will take whatever we can get!
Personally, I still haven't finished the book, but that's just me. I have spoken to people who are convinced Nation was his best book to date but the school of thought to which I ascribe is that we have been woefully disappointed. Who knows? Maybe the book improves as you get farther into it. Maybe one day I will force myself through it to find out.
But back to my original topic...
Unseen Academicals was good. It just wasn't quite as good as I had hoped it would be. A friend of mine has described the Discworld novels as having started at a seven, moved up through eights and nines, leveled off at ten and has been going strong ever since. Sadly, it seems like this most recent in the series has dropped back to a nine.
Now, please understand, I am being a harsh judge because I have known this author for so long I feel like I am critiquing a friend. (Yeah, I'm a bastard to all my friends. So?)
A nine out of ten is, by no means, a bad book. Very few authors ever achieve a ten in my world. The only disappointment here is that I was really hoping for a ten.
Maybe it is the Alzheimer Syndrome showing through. Or perhaps it is because he dictated the book this time around rather than doing all the writing and editing himself. It could even be a simple matter of it having been a new set of central characters and not quite having gotten into the groove of them yet. The bottom line though, is that the scathing wit he generally utilizes to point sharply to the stupidity surrounding us felt like it was blunted a little bit this time around.
For my part, I think that it would have found its way to damned near perfect with, maybe, one or two more read-through and edits by the man himself. Just enough to sharpen the blade so to speak. The story line was there and the thinking was clearly present. I think it just needed a little more kick to it.
To be entirely honest here, if I hadn't had all of Terry's other novels here to compare to, this one might have been a ten as well. I am grateful for anything new I am able to put my hands on from this author and will read each new work he gives us until the day I die. (It is my devout hope that I go before him so I never have to go a year without a chance of a new Pratchett novel.)
In closing, I would just like to say, "Long life to you Terry! And good health plague you for all your years! Keep 'em coming!" (Not that I expect he will ever read this but, just in case, I want my encouragement to be noted as being loud boisterous and heartfelt.)
Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.
No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.
-Terry Pratchett from Lords and Ladies-