The thoughts, views and opinions expressed in the posts and comments of this blog are the product of the author alone. Nothing expressed here is intended to represent any person or entity other than the author. Everything here should be understood as the personal opinions of the author. No information on this blog will be understood as official in any capacity.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I'd like to tell you about Spiders...

That's right. Spiders.

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.

That's right kid! Scream and run as if your life depended on it! That fucker is scary and never let anyone tell you any different!

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

Oh Noes!!

Alright. So I missed yesterday's blog. Sue me. I will get better at this keeping a schedule thing as time goes on.

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.

Cedar sucks my friends.

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.
-James Thurber-

Monday, January 25, 2010


So, I am sure I have mentioned this before but just in case, I will say it again. I am a gamer.

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

Friday Fun...

So, it's Friday which means that the weekend is upon us and everyone is looking for fun times.

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.

When you follow your dreams, there's no telling what you'll become.
Supposedly there are people out there who don't care for this movie. I am forced to ignore that these people exist or run the risk of being forced to beat them to death with a live herring. I'll do it too! Don't push me!

The movie is called "Connie and Carla". (Just in case the DVD cover above didn't give it away.) It is absolutely wonderful and you should find time this weekend to sit down with your friends and loved ones and watch it.

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?

Los Angeles!

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 Already...

So here I am...

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

Trying to Remember... Part 2...

So, last Friday, I started a post telling you all about a couple wonderful emails I have recollections of from way back when. (Like, 10-12 years ago. :p ) The first part dealt with an email regarding questions people ask in bookstores. For my part, I think the content of that one falls pretty squarely into the "Funny because it's True" category.

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!

What can I say, I am a big fan of The Doctor... I still think a cult in his honor would be the best thing ever!

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.
-Anais Nin-

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Goodbyes Happen... Not Always Well...

I have never been one to keep track of dates in any meaningful way. I have no idea when I lost my first tooth or had my first kiss or even what the hell day it was when my ex-fiancée and I split up. So when I say that I guess it was more than a year ago when I had to fly home to attend the funeral of my step-father, I hope you understand that it isn't anything disrespectful... I simply have no concept of the date that it happened.

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

Trying to Remember... Part 1...

A few years ago, there were a couple emails going around that I found utterly delightful. I was working in a bookstore at the time (Gods I miss that discount.) and they were both incredibly appropriate to me at the time. I am going to jot down what I can remember here but I know that I am being far from all inclusive.

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.
-George Carlin-

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Movies You Need to See: Beetlejuice...

Alright Joan... Here goes nothing...

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.

Personally, I think that the foreign language in the video makes it even funnier! What language is that anyway?

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!

Heheheheheheh!!! I wish I could make this kind of thing happen every day!

And now to find the perfect quote to wrap this up...

We've come for your daughter, Chuck.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

When I am Old...

This is a video I was aware of long ago and an old friend of mine just reminded me of it's existence. It is fairly short so I invite you to take a quick look now, before reading on.

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-

New Year, New Plan...

And I was doing so well for a while there...

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.

A blog is what all websites want to be; updated on a regular basis, contains content that is of interest to a select or target audience, and is easy to update or change.

Book Review: Unseen Acedemicals

(I have done my best to keep the spoilers out of here but something may have slipped through. Sorry.)

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!

Or not...

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-