August 8th, 2005

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Monday Blahs

Well, Trista is off, again. She left early Saturday morning for Snowmass, Colorado, to attend the FASEB meeting on Glucose Transporter Biology. I am cheesy. I miss her terribly.

Well, the weekend was a mish mash of reading and scribbling and otherwise just hanging out. Writing is going slowly at this point. I am still pretty much between projects, and trying to figure out where to jump into next. Last night I got a good start on a ghostly story, but it is a strangely painful piece for me to write, and it will undoubtedly spill out into being longer than the requisite 1000 word max.

I finished reading a couple of novels since last I blogged.

In The Midnight Museum by Gary Braunbeck. The ending was not bad. Strangely, it featured an image from another of Braunbeck's short novels. An art piece of a community (also featured in his erotic ghost story This Flesh Unknown). The English major in me wants to pick at this motif... But the rest of me doesn't have much time.

The Totem by David Morrell. This is a book that's been sitting on my shelf for years. I still have the receipt, actually. I've never been able to read it. For some reason, it calls to me in the dead of night when Trista is on vacation. I start to read it, get utterly freaked out by it, and then put it down. Well, this Saturday (after Trista left) it called to me, once more. This time, I triumphed! The book is very interesting to me. Chilling. The story involves a small town, nestled near a prominant Western Mountain range. Well, it falls into the category of the Bad Things Happening in The Small Town, and it comes off pretty well. Quite creepy. I have a qualm with it. The first section of book seems to take place at a different time period than the latter half. Similar to King's The Stand, I find this weakens the novel (where details were altered at in the 'complete, uncut' printing to modernize it). Bah, both books are firmly set in the past (60s-70s for King, late70s-early 80s for Morrell) and should have been left that way! That is my gripe, and it might not seem like much, but... Reading along, when I would hit one of these moments, I would get bounced right out of the action. Whaaat? Then, I'd reread it. Flip back to the beginning. Read on. And it would take me a bit of time to get back into the story. That shouldn't happen. As the book was Morrell's fourth (original copyright 1979) it does not display the polish of The Fifth Profession, but it was a gripping thriller. It straddles genres with authority, appearing at first to be a nearly supernatural thriller (the introduction pays homage to King's Salem's Lot, and this text speaks to that one), then becoming something quite different. Much more realistic. The book spooked me as I read it in broad daylight. Thumbs up.

Turnabout by Jeremiah Healy. One of Leisure books Thrillers, this volume is a quick read. The story concerns a former FBI man, now turned security expert, Matt Langway getting a rather unique request from one of his clients, to locate a kidnapped grandson. Why not call the feds or cops? Well, the client, a retired US General, doesn't want to threaten the great grandson's life. The prose reads with an intensity reminiscent of James "Double Indemnity" Cain. The story, however, is not as engaging. The ending comes an absolute surprise, unfortunately, it was to the point that I was launched out of the story shouting "Waitaminute! That don't make no sense!" I suppose the author was going for a Usual Suspects style moment -- you know, where everything falls into place and the viewer is left amazed. Alas, not so for me. Still, overall, it was a fun read.

Now I'm in the middle of Tim Waggonner's Like Death.

As for films, I finally saw Thriller: A Cruel Picture, which is pretty intriguing. I found the use of hardcore pornography in this revenge flick to be very odd, until I realized that the act of penetration was always juxtaposed to the act of drug use. The needle and the penis are indivisible to the main character. I find this fascinating. The lead actress was quite good, even though she never spoke a line.

Lost in Translation made me weepy. It is a gorgeous poem of a film, and Bill Murray is incredible.

Hellcats in High Heels was a video photoshoot of hot chicks in scanty clothing. And it was boring. Ye gods. I fast forwarded through nearly the entire thing. Not even slightly stimulating or interesting. That was an hour of my life I will never get back.

To the contrary, Dirty Pretty Things was extraordinary. A film about immigrants in London, this bleak tale simultaneously comes off as a character drama and a horror film. Desperate characters trying to hold onto their morality, while making their way through a difficult and filthy world. Audrey Tautou and Chiwetel Ejiofor are intensely watchable.
  • Current Music
    Bill Murray's songs from Lost in Translation