Mike’s Prattle

Miscellaneous

Archive for November, 2006

Galactus is coming

Posted by Mike on November 30, 2006

Excellent Jack Chick track parody.

and the Lovecraft version.

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Reader Quiz

Posted by Mike on November 29, 2006

What Kind of Reader Are You?

Your Result: Literate Good Citizen

You read to inform or entertain yourself, but you’re not nerdy about it. You’ve read most major classics (in school) and you have a favorite genre or two.

Non-Reader
Fad Reader
Dedicated Reader
Book Snob
Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Posted in Books, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

New study

Posted by Mike on November 29, 2006

http://www.ctnow.com/custom/nmm/newhavenadvocate/hce-nha-1123-nh48bushbash48.artnov23,0,1695911.story

I don’t normally like to talk about politics here or at all, but this was too great to pass up.

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The Fountain review

Posted by Mike on November 29, 2006

I really admire Lucius Shepard’s movie criticism, this is his latest on Deja Vu and The Fountain.

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Book/CD Received; Richard Laymon – The Cellar; Jack Cady – The Sons of Noah & Other Stories; Neil Gaiman “The Monarch in the Glen;” The Prestige; Torchwood

Posted by Mike on November 27, 2006

Book: Philip Jose Farmer – The World of Tiers
CD: Alan Sorrenti – Aria (x3)

Thanksgiving vacation was awesome, probably the best one I’ve had in years, I saw family, I got work done, and I relaxed and read all in about equal measure. Oh, I should probably mention Popcap.com and the game Alchemy, which managed to steal quite a bit of time as well. Those familiar and/or sympathetic to my esoteric interests will likely find it fun and amusing. It’s a bit off from the Tetris family, with lots of planetary and astrological glyphs used as symbols (although they must be saving Virgo for the higher levels ;)). It was my old man who turned me onto it, to which I mentioned that the Baptists would not have approved. Suffice it to say, I did not want to get out of bed this morning, partially because it was so cold, even with my heater running.

Anyway, onto the books and stuff… Laymon’s _The Cellar_ I believe I found out about on some Best 100 Horror novels ever list, it’s supposedly a cult classic of sorts. Having finished the Brian Kenne duology at a fast rate, I went at the Cellar at a clip, before realizing I was quickly burning out on the plot-heavy, cliche character sort of deal (which is basically about a woman and daughter on the run from a child molesting husband/father who just got out of jail and a creepy house that is supposedly the lair of a murdering beast). Perhaps the reputation of the book hinges on what daring feats it accomplished at the time of its original release, but as quick moving and fun as it was, it was also terribly shallow. The main male protagonist of the book could have been Steven Seagal in a movie, with his short, megamale way of going about things and nearly every character was something of a cliche. What wasn’t trite were the plot twists at the end. I kept expecting there to be something of a showdown with the main antagonist, and although the encounter happened, it didn’t go as I suspected, including no scenes like “I think he’s finally dead” only for him to get up for another round. Thankfully.  I suspect the ending might have been what garnered the novel its cult, but that would be tough to talk about without spoiling.

Jack Cady’s rather brief short story collection was far more erudite than this, and the comparison fits, as Cady’s work, though ostensibly interstitial, has elements of horror, especially the collection’s longest story, “By Reason of Darkness.” The writing is top notch with an instantly identifable and unique voice, by a man who seems acquainted with both the rural and urban. My favorites were the aformentioned novella and the shorter, powerful title story, about a religious community living in a remote valley who receives a visitor who brings bad news to the people. Even though no monsters show up, the flavor is somewhat Lovecraftian, with a nice, somewhat magically realist, denouement. “Darkness” might have been the book’s best piece, a story that draws characters together under conditions of (I believe the Vietnam) war and then has them meet together afterwards for unfinished business. The protagonists, including a wonderfully drawn, is-he-sane-or-not, Indian mystic, really imbue the story with several layers of meaning, tied together by vague, supernatural goings on. The remaining five stories are all much shorter, but nicely drawn with a language that seems both erudite and wordly.

Neil Gaiman’s novella comes from Legends II and is a sequel to his novel American Gods, so I wanted to read it before starting Anansi Boys, which just came out in paperback. Monarch follows Shadow to Scotland where he’s hired as helper at a party way up in the mountains, only to find out that he’s there to be more than hired help. It was nice to visit with Shadow again and the story had the usual mythic resonance that Gaiman handles so well. I believe the story is also in Fragile Things, his new collection.

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Books Received; Brian Keene – The Rising; City of the Dead

Posted by Mike on November 20, 2006

  • Brian Keene – City of the Dead
  • Bentley Little – The Revelation
  • Richard Laymon – The Cellar
  • Kirsten Bakis – Lives of the Monster Dogs

The two novels listed by Brian Keene are two halves of a whole. The end chapter (no. 23 no less) of The Rising and chapter 1 of City of the Dead are basically identical, the latter having a bit of explanatory editing to introduce people coming half way in. Keene’s work, unsurprisingly, owes a great deal to the horror genre through Stephen King. The Rising and City are both zombie novels, although the zombies in Keene’s work aren’t the Romero kind, but are basically demons inhabiting corpses.

In fact Keene’s work is more or less a B movie put to a book. You get non-stop, pulse-pounding action that only really lets up for a bit in the second of the two books. The writing at the sentence level is a bit awkward and the book revels in cliches, the father who wants to save his kid (almost identical in goal to the Lebbon novella I read a few weeks ago), the tough ex-prostitute, the preacher man etc. In fact, it wouldn’t be too difficult to pick these books apart at the seams, but it would be ignoring the fact that they’re really great fun.

Perhaps the reason why books like this work is because the prose is somewhat invisible, it’s designed to keep the plot moving fast and one isn’t inclined to reread sentences except when you’re trying to figure out something clumsy. The plot, as mentioned before, starts in an underground bunker after the dead has started rising. Our protagonist Jim Thurmond gets an unexpected phone call from his young son living with his mother and stepfather several states away. Already about to give up, it gives Thurmond the courage to go after him.

Thurmond’s exploits remind me a bit of the episodic nature of Lansdale’s Drive-In books. Bad things happen, people are traumatized, worse things happen. Thurmond meets up with survivors, realizes that demon-possessed cadavers aren’t the only bad thing about the apocalypse, and tries to figure out a universe that seems a weird mishmash of Christianity, new age and magic.

In fact there’s one message that seems pretty clear throughout the book. Science is responsible for the apocalypse. Magic might have saved the world had it not been totally forgotten (eh?). Faith is the only recourse, characterized by the preacher man, who quotes bible verses and declares they’re on a mission for God. It gets stronger as the picture grows bleaker and bleaker.

I don’t want to go too much into detail about events and can say very little about the second book, except that the first book ends on a cliffhanger and you need book 2 to see if Thurmond saves his son. Apparently this cliffhanger really bothered the fans at the time, but not enough to deny The Rising its Bram Stoker Award for First Novel. I found myself a little distracted by the books’ theology and the awkward prose, but for the most part it’s one long action romp through a nightmare that keeps getting worse, each episode making you want to know what happens next.

The other thing about these books is you can read them fast. 300-350 page books disappear in a night or two. Which may be why I’m trying to knock out Laymon’s _The Cellar_. At that point I’ll probably need something a little more edifying. Or maybe a lot.

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Science Fiction meme

Posted by Mike on November 16, 2006

Below is a Science Fiction Book Club list of the most significant SF novels between 1953-2006.

The meme part of this works like so: Bold the ones you have read, strike through the ones you read and hated, italicize those you started but never finished and put a star next to the ones you love.

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
3. Dune, Frank Herbert
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlei
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5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson
7. Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
*11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
*19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
*22. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson (currently reading)
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
*25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
*27. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
31. Little, Big, John Crowley
*32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick

34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
*43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson

44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
*47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock

48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
*50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

Over half!

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+ 70 others

Posted by Mike on November 13, 2006

Yes, yes, slow day today! 

1. The phone rings. Who do you want it to be?
Someone with money.

2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart? 
Usually, yes. 

3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener?
In large groups I never talk, in smaller groups with close friends I’m about 50/50. I’m definitely more a listener overall.

4. Do you take compliments well?
Yes and no. I take them well and can say thank you, but I’m generally bothered by compliments because they’re often social niceties or manipulative in nature.

5. Are you an active person?
Probably not. I can be happy doing something or not doing something.

6. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, would you survive?
Certainly, provided I get some training first.

7. Do you like to ride horses?
Not sure if I’ve ever ridden one. Might have in England.

8. Did you ever go to camp as a kid?
Yes, sent to youth group camps as a kid. Had a great time, but they wouldn’t want me there now. Mwahaha.

9. What was your favorite game as a kid?
Depends on the age.

10. If a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew he/she was married, would you get involved with him/her?
Depends how I felt at the time. Once you fall for someone, questions like this don’t mean squat.

11. Are you judgmental?
Who isn’t? Such a question seems to come from deeply seated Christian values that imply judging someone is a bad thing. We judge people and situations all the time, it’s how we get by.

12. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you?
Depends on how esoteric or exoteric the given religious beliefs are. I could never date a legalist or literalist member of any religion.

13. Do you like to pursue or be pursued?
Being pursued is a lot easier.

14. Can you speak another language?
Nay.

15. If you had to choose, would you rather be deaf or blind?
I’m already half blind (in one eye). I think it would be harder to be blind in general, but I’d probably go mad without music.

16. What’s your favorite food?
Scallops. Chocolate.

17. Do you know how to shoot a gun?
I know how to shoot one, I’m a little rougher on the aiming.

18. If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you grabbed?
My coat.

19. How often do you read books?
As often as I bloody well can. I carry at least one book everywhere.

20. Do you think more about the past, present or future?
The present.

21. What is your favorite children’s book?
I think I’m fondest of the Roald Dahl books I grew up with, Charlie & the Choclate Factory, Giant Elevator, James and the Giant Peach etc.

22. What color are your eyes?

Blue.

23. How tall are you?

5’9”

24. Where is your dream house located?
Somewhere quiet where I can be loud.

25. Last person you talked to on the phone?
Brian. Ya but no but ya but no but ya…

26. Have you ever taken pictures in a photo booth?
Maybe, not that I remember.

27. When was the last time you were at Olive Garden?

I think I’ve been once or twice and it’s been at least 5 years. Not really the highest restaurant on my list.

28. What are your keys on your key chain for?
My apt, my cars (yeah I actually have 2 at the moment) folk’s house, gate key, mail key, work key, several unknowns.

29. What’s your favorite color?

Blue, purple, green pastels, preferably in combo.

30. Where was the furthest place you traveled today?
Looks like work.

31. Where is your current pain at?
Back, intermittently (been pretty good lately).

32. Do you like mustard?
Yes.

33. Do you prefer to sleep or eat?
Sleep. I need more practice.

34. Do you look like your mom or dad?
More like my mom.

35. How long does it take you in the shower?
10 or 15m usually.

36. Can you do splits?
Banana.

37. What movie do you want to see right now?
The Prestige. I read the book.

38. Do you put lotion on your dog or cats?
I don’t own lotion, dogs or cats.

39. What did you do for New Year’s?
I don’t even remember, it’s only a month or two to the next one.

40. Do you think The Grudge was scary?
No.

41. What was the cause of your last accident?
Can’t remember.

42. Do you own a camera phone?
Yes.

43. What are you drinking?
Water. Arrowhead.

44. Was your mom a cheerleader?
No.

45. What’s the last letter of your middle name? K.

46. Who did you vote for on American Idol?
I didn’t. The only thing I ever saw that I remotely liked was Bo doing an Allman Bros song last year. It kept me from changing the channel for a few minutes.

47. How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
About 5 1/2. Not for lack of trying.

48. Do you like Care Bears?
The edible ones.

49. What do you buy at the movies?
A ticket. OK I think I need to change the question on sarcasm.

50. Do you know how to play poker?
Yes, but my brother is the playuh in my family.

51. Do you wear your seatbelt?
Usually yes.

52. What do you wear to sleep?

Smallclothes. 😀

53. Anything big ever happen in your hometown?

Yes, we got a professional sports team about 20 years ago. 🙂

54. How many meals do you eat a day?

Three, except on Sundays usually two.

55. Is your tongue pierced?
I don’t usually allow anything sharp next to my tongue.

56. Do you always read MySpace bulletins?
Never.

57. Do you have pets?
No.

58. Do you like funny or serious people better?
Funny people by a long shot.

59. Ever been to LA?
Yes, have family there.

60. Did you eat a cookie today?
No.

61. Do you use cuss words in other languages?
Yes.

62. Do you steal or pay for your music downloads?
When did you stop beating your wife?

63. Do you hate chocolate?
Who could ask such a thing? I just had to change my favorite food answer.

64. What do you and your parents fight about the most?
My dad and I rarely ever fight about anything, my mother loves to fight about politics. You couldn’t ask for better Republican parents. 😀

65. Is your cell usually on vibrate or ring?

Both.

66. Are you a gullible person?
Usually no, but I have my areas.

67. Do you need a boyfriend/girlfriend to be happy?

No. If you have a SO you don’t want one, if you don’t you do.

68. If you could have any job (assuming you have the skills) what would it be?

Ipsissimus.

69. Are you easy to get along with?
I get along easily with people who are easy to get along with. People who feel some sort of proprietal interest in how I spend my time or who won’t give me space often find me frustrating to deal with. I’m OK with that.

70. What is your favorite time of day?
When I’m not working the next day, late nightish.

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100 Questions Meme

Posted by Mike on November 13, 2006

Just because: 

1. ONE OF YOUR SCARS, HOW DID YOU GET IT?
Right thumb, got it playing somewhere as a child and got cut by something. All I remember is playing and then blood and then mommy.

2. WHAT IS ON THE WALLS IN YOUR ROOM?
Depends on the room, but assuming it means bedroom, I have very little up except a hermetic rosy cross and lots of bookshelves. A work in progress.

3. WHAT DOES YOUR CELL PHONE LOOK LIKE?
Motorola razor, silver. My current wallpaper is a picture of a lightbulb, just because.

4. WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO?
Probably jazz (hard bop, spiritual jazz, soul jazz, funk and fusion best) and late 60s/early 70s classic rock the most, but I like a little of everything.

5. DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME YOU WERE BORN?
Very early morning. I forget time because I’m not sure if it’s GMT or otherwise. Whenever (and wherever) Cancer was rising the morning of September 17th, 1970.

6. WHAT DO YOU WANT MORE THAN ANYTHING RIGHT NOW?
Sleep. Until I get home, then I probably want to read. If I was a bear I’d say hibernate.

7. WHO DO YOU MISS?
Noone really, except occasionally my nephews. I’m generally OK where I am at any given moment.

10. WHAT’S YOUR MIDDLE NAME?
Kenneth.

11. THE BEST TV SHOW EVER CREATED:
Can’t think of one in particular, but I’m awfully fond of the new Battlestar Galactica, Deadwood, and The Shield currently. Maybe South Park. My inner 8 year old says Doctor Who. My inner 21 year old says Buffy.

12. THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO?
Brian

13. DO YOU GET SCARED IN THE DARK?
No. I grew up fundamentalist and then grew out of it. Ain’t nothing scarier than that.

14. THE LAST PERSON TO MAKE YOU CRY?
I’m not totally sure, it’s not usually people who would do so, more than likely it’s a situation.

15. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE
COLOGNE / PERFUME?
Most commercial colognes and perfumes totally disgust me. I used to do labwork at UCDavis and I smelled stuff up there I’d rather wear before most garbage like Drakkar Noir. I prefer to keep it organic when I use my own, something with amber or sandalwood.

16. WHAT KIND OF HAIR/EYE COLOR DO YOU LIKE ON THE OPPOSITE SEX?
Black hair, green eyes.

17. WOULD YOU RATHER BE SMART OR FUNNY?
Funny. Being smart is a pain in the ass.

18. COFFEE OR ENERGY DRINKS?
Coffee.

19. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PIZZA TOPPING?
Pizza

Cheese. Isn’t it everyone’s? 🙂 

20. IF YOU CAN EAT ANYTHING RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Can’t answer this question at the moment, not hungry. Maybe a big margarita.

21. WHO IS THE LAST PERSON YOU MADE MAD?
Whoever it was probably doesn’t have any idea. 🙂

22. DO YOU SPEAK ANOTHER LANGUAGE?
No.

23. WHAT WAS THE FIRST GIFT SOMEONE EVER GAVE YOU?
My mom and dad gave me this awesome little one piece, pajama thing with those padded little feet. Seriously, who remembers this?

24. DO YOU LIKE SOMEONE?
Someone who?

25. ARE YOU DOUBLE JOINTED?
No.

26. FAVORITE CLOTHING BRAND?
Dumb look.

27. WHAT’S YOUR DREAM CAR?
Anything someone else is chauffering for me. 🙂

28. WHAT COLOR IS IT?
Black.

29. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE KIND OF EXERCISE?
Ritual work.

30. WOULD YOU FALL IN LOVE KNOWING THAT THE PERSON IS LEAVING?
I only fall in love when it’s a really stupid thing to do, so yes.

31. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TELL SOMEONE HOW MUCH THEY MEAN TO YOU?
Ambiguous much?

32. SAY A NUMBER FROM ONE TO A HUNDRED:
23. Duh. 🙂

33. BLONDES OR BRUNETTES?
Depends on the blonde or brunette.

34. WHAT IS THE ONE NUMBER YOU CALL OFTEN?
Don’t have any one number I call more frequently than another.

35. WHAT ANNOYS YOU MOST?
People who won’t stay out of your business, no matter how nicely you ask.

35. HAVE YOU BEEN OUT OF THE
U.S.?
Yes, I used to live in England.

36. YOUR WEAKNESSES?
A complete apathy for that which doesn’t interest me.

37. TATER TOTS OR FRIES?
Fries I guess. Not a huge fan of either.

38. FIRST JOB?
Yardwork, babysitting or Burger King depending on variables.

39. EVER PRANK CALLED SOMEONE?
Yes.

40. WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOU FILLED OUT THIS?
Trying to stay awake.

41. IF YOU COULD GET PLASTIC SURGERY WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Haven’t even thought about it.

42. WHY DID YOU FILL OUT THIS SURVEY?
I’m in a writerly mood today.

43. WHAT DO YOU GET COMPLIMENTED ABOUT MOST?
My laugh, my hair or my eyes.

44. WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF ALCOHOL BECAME ILLEGAL?
Depends on what else was legal at the time. 🙂

45. WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY?
A new president.

46. HOW MANY KIDS DO YOU WANT?
Undecided.

47. WHERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
I don’t think so. My middle name is my father’s.

48. DO YOU WISH ON STARS?
No.

49. WHICH FINGER[S] IS YOUR FAVORITE?
For this question, my middle.

50. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY?
Laughing at South Park a few weeks ago.

51. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
Yes, although I liked it better when I was younger.

52. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
Whatever weird shit my friend Darren shows up with. He recently showed up with some weird pork thing that came off pigs only fed with acorns. Whatever it was was damn good.

53. ANY BAD HABITS?
Of course!

54. WHAT IS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING CD ON THE SHELF?
I’m beyond embarassment, after all I own Morbid Angel and Deicide CDs.

55. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Hell no!

56. HAVE YOU EVER TOLD A SECRET YOU SWORE NOT TO TELL?
Probably, but I’m generally pretty good with secrets.

57. DO LOOKS MATTER?
Yes, of course they do.

58. HOW DO YOU RELEASE YOUR ANGER?
Meditation, contemplation and letting go.

59. WHERE IS YOUR SECOND HOME?
Probably the home I grew up in. Better cooking.

60. DO YOU TRUST OTHERS EASILY?
I’m of the opinion that you extend trust first. If you get screwed, you know better. I wanted to say no initially, but I think the answer is yes now (unless it’s an obscurist prog fan :)).

61. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TOY AS A CHILD?
Probably my teddy bear. When I was older, Legos.

62. HOW MANY NUMBERS ARE IN YOUR CELL PHONE?
Do people actually count these?

63. DO YOU USE SARCASM?
Less so as I get older, it’s terribly abused in the internet age and usually telegraphs the message “I’m petty.” Then again, I’ve got a friend with whom we’ve made a fine art out of sarcasm, but we might as well be speaking another language.

64. DO YOU KNOW ANYONE FAMOUS?
Depends what is meant by famous. I know a good writer or musician or two, but I never think of people like this in terms of their capitalistic status.

65. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN A MOSH PIT?
Yes.

66. WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A GUY/GIRL?
A sense of personal responsibility, someone with flexibility in philosophical/theological areas, someone who “knows” the essential unity of things.

67. WHAT ARE YOUR NICKNAMES?
Mike. 🙂

68. HOW MANY PAIRS OF SHOES DO YOU HAVE?
2 probably.

69. DO YOU UN-TIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
No. They generally untie all by themselves.

70. WHERE YOU UPSET ABOUT STEVE IRWIN DYING?
No.

71. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR?
Something with caramel and chocolate.

72. ARE YOU LAZY?
In some ways yes, in others no. 

73. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE COLORS?
Blue, purple and green pastels usually.

74. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BAND?
I’m amazed anyone has one favorite band. If I was pushed it would probably have to be a John Coltrane or Miles Davis line up from the 60s.

75. HOW MANY WISDOM TEETH DO YOU HAVE?
None. Four impacted and pulled.

76. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS?
No.

77. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
Grateful Dead 5/15/70 (first acoustic set)

78. LAST THING YOU ATE?
Skittles. I’m not kidding.

79. LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
Brian.

80. WHATS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ON THE OPPOSITE SEX?
Hair, usually.

81. FAVORITE THOUGHT PROVOKING SONG:
Maudlin of the Well – Secret Song

82. FAVORITE THING TO HATE:
Los Angeles Lakers

83. FAVORITE DRINK:
Probably a Lindemann’s Lambic. Could be Kriek marginally, but I love em all.

84. FAVORITE ZODIAC SIGN
Virgo. Does anyone have a favorite zodiac sign outside of what they actually are?

85. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPORT?
Basketball

86. WHAT IS YOUR HAIR COLOR?
Blonde.

87. EYE COLOR?
Blue

88. DO YOU WEAR GLASSES?
Yes, for distance.

89. SIBLINGS?
One brother.

90. FAVORITE MONTH(s)
Not sure if I have one, I love season transitions best.

91. DO YOU LIKE SUSHI?
Hell yes.

92. LAST THING YOU WATCHED?
Kings vs. Raptors last night. First 3 quarters. 😀

93. FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR?
Don’t really have one.

94. ARE YOU TOO SHY TO ASK SOMEONE OUT? No.

95. SUMMER OR WINTER?
Winter.

96. KISSES OR HUGS?
Depends.

97. RELATIONSHIPS OR ONE-NIGHT STANDS?
Relationships.

98. WHO IS THE MOST LIKELY TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS?
Have no idea.

99. WHO IS THE LEAST LIKELY TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS?
Have no idea.

100. Create your own question! Whoo!

Why would I want to do that?

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Books Received; The Avram Davidson Treasury; Tim Lebbon – As The Sun Goes Down

Posted by Mike on November 13, 2006

  • Tim Lebbon – Berserk
  • Tim Lebbon – Desolation
  • J. G. Ballard – Collected Stories Vol. 1
  • J. G. Ballard – Collected Stories Vol. 2
  • Felipe Alfau – Chromos

Subterranean Books is having a sale. I almost got out unscathed except that there’s a new T. E. D. Klein collection out called Reassuring Tales, a collection that has no crossover with Klein’s Dark Gods four novella collection from a decade or two ago. Klein’s The Ceremonies still strikes me as one of the great horror novels, so it’s nice to be able to get a bunch more goodies from a writer who never really wrote all that much in the first place. In fact the new collection has the original novella that inspired The Ceremonies, a novella I think I probably had in some HPL inspired anthology. Anyway there’s lots of goodies at this sale and Subterranean books have a habit of going through the roof once they’re out of print, so it’s a nice way to invest. Also on sale there, is the upcoming Jack Vance Treasury, a collection of his best short stories, highly recommended if you haven’t checked him out yet.

After probably at least two years, I finally finished The Avram Davidson Treasury over the weekend. Not only is the book fairly big, but it has very small font, and Davidson’s work is already rather dense as it is, so it took me a long time to get through it. It’s probably a perfect entry into the man’s work, covering stories from throughout his career, including a story each from the Eszterhazy, Vergil Magus and Limekiller series. Davidson is probably one of the 20th century’s best short story writers. He had a way with prose and style that is almost instantly identifiable, new spellings, invented words, and plays on the language abound, bolstering what was an intense and original imagination. Like many of the great literary speculative fiction writers, Davdison’s work often wasn’t obviously so, often their weirdness had less to do with a plot device and more to do with the milieu of the story. A story does not go by without some obvious display of cleverness and the style and charming situations make just about every piece in here a winner. And it only helps to read the reminiscences of a number of, and in many cases unfairly so, writers more famous, who add insights into the man’s character and personality. To say the least, anyone into quality reading needs to check this out.

The Lebbon was quite a bit easier to finish given that the biggest story in the book was the novella “The Unfortunate,” which I read in Fears Unnamed a few weeks back. The rest of the material sticks to short shorts, maybe a novelette or two. I think I read they were going to jokingly call the collection “Bleak Shit” or something, which is probably more apt a title, as story after story of failing relationships goes by with rarely a bright spot. While I think I prefer Lebbon’s longer stories over many of these, there are some gems, like the Bram Stoker award winner “Reconstructing Amy,” possibly because this is one of the few pieces that ends on something of a positive note. It’s truly a moving piece of work about a man trying to live after the death of his wife and it reminds me in a subtle way of Lucius Shepard’s “The Glassblower’s Dragon” both in that they’re uplifting (cosmically so) and that such a thing is generally rare from either writer. There are a couple other gems, but without the book in front of me, I’m not quite sure of the titles.

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