March 7th, 2008

there!, Hello

I have lived through 101 of these 158 things

Yanked from 21stcherryboy and nightskyre

1. Put numbers in the boxes instead of x's (example: 1, 2, 3, 4, ...)
2. Repost as "I have lived through ___ of these 158 things."

[1] I have read a lot of books.
[2] I have been on some sort of varsity team.
[3] I have run more than 2 miles without stopping.
[4] I have been to Canada.
[] I have been to Europe.
[5] I have watched cartoons for hours.
[6] I have tripped UP the stairs.
[7] I have fallen down an entire flight of stairs.
[8] I have been snowboarding/skiing.
[9] I have played ping pong.

[] I swam in the ocean.
[10] I have been on a whale watch.
[11] I have seen fireworks.
[12] I have seen a shooting star.
[13] I have seen a meteor shower.
[] I have almost drowned.
[14] I have been so embarrassed I wanted to disappear.
[15] I have listened to one CD over and over and over again.
[16] I have had stitches.
[] I have had frostbite.
[] I have licked a frozen pole and got stuck there.
[17] I have stayed up til 2 doing homework/projects.
[18] I currently have a job.
[19] I have been ice skating.
[20] I have been rollerblading.
[21] I have fallen flat on my face.
[22] I have tripped over my own two feet.
[23]I have been in a fist fight.
[24] I have played videogames for more than 3 hours straight.
[25] I have watched the Power Rangers.
[] I attend Church regularly.
[26] I have played truth or dare.
[27] I have already had my 16th birthday.
[28] I have already had my 18th birthday.
[29] I've called someone stupid.
[30] I've been in a verbal argument.
[31] I've cried in school.
[32] I've played basketball on a team.
[] I've played baseball on a team.
[] I've played football on a team.
[33] I've played soccer on a team.
[] I've done cheerleading on a team.
[] I've played softball on a team.
[34] I've played volleyball on a team.
[] I've played tennis on a team.
[35] I've been in the marching band.
[36] I've been swimming more than 20 times in my life.
[] I've bungee jumped.
[] I've climbed a rock wall.
[37] I've lost more than $20.
[38] I've called myself an idiot.
[39] I've called someone else an idiot.
[40] I've cried myself to sleep.
[41] I've had (or have) pets.
[] I've owned a spice girls CD.
[42] I've owned a britney spears CD.
[] I've owned an N*Sync CD.
[] I've owned a backstreet boys CD.
[43] I've mooned someone.
[] I have sworn at someone of authority before.
[] I've been in the newspaper.
[] I've been on TV.
[] I've been to Hawaii.
[44] I've eaten sushi.
[45] I've been on the other side of a waterfall.
[46] I've watched all of the Lord of the Rings movies.
[47] I've watched all the Harry Potter movies.
[] I've watched all of the Rocky movies.
[48] I've watched the 3 stooges.
[] I've watched "Newlyweds" Nick & Jessica.
[49] I've watched Looney Tunes.
[] I've been stuffed into a locker/I have stuffed others into lockers.
[50] I've been called a geek.
[51] I've studied hard for a test and got a bad grade.
[52] I've not studied at all for a test and aced it.
[] I've hugged my mom within the past 24 hrs.
[] I've hugged my dad within the past 24 hours.
[53] I've met a celebrity/music artist.
[54] I've written poetry.
[] I've been arrested.
[55] I've been attracted to someone much older than me.
[56] I've been tickled till I've cried.
[57] I've tickled someone else until they cried.
[] I've had/have siblings.
[58] I've been to a rock concert.
[59] I've listened to classical music and enjoyed it.
[60] I've been in a play.
[61] I've been picked last in gym class.
[] I've been picked first in gym class.
[62] I've been picked in that middle-range in gym class.
[63] I've cried in front of my friends.
[64] I've read a book longer than 1,000 pages
[65] I've played Halo 2.
[] I've freaked out over a sports game.
[] I've been to Alaska.
[] I've been to China.
[] I've been to Spain.
[] I've been to Japan.
[] I've had a fight with someone on AIM.
[66] I've had a fight with someone face-to-face.
[] I've had serious conversations on any IM.
[67] I've forgiven someone who has done something wrong to me.
[68] I've been forgiven.
[69] I've screamed at a scary movie.
[70] I've cried at a chick flick.
[71] I've watched a lot of action movies.
[72] I've screamed at the top of my lungs.
[] I've been to a rap concert.
[] I've been to a hip hop concert.
[73] I've lived in more than 2 houses.
[74] I've driven on the highway/been on the highway.
[75] I've driven more than 40 miles in a day/been in a car that went more than 40 miles in a day.
[76] I've been in a car accident.
[] I've done drugs.
[77] I've been homesick.
[78] I've thrown up.
[] I've puked on someone.
[79] I've been horseback riding.
[] I've filled out more than 10 myspace surveys.
[80] I've spoken my mind in public.
[81] I've proved someone wrong.
[82] I've been proven wrong by someone.
[] I've broken a leg.
[] I've broken an arm or a finger.
[83] I've fallen off a swing.
[84] I've swung on a swing for more than 30 minutes straight
[85] I've watched Winnie the Pooh movies.
[] I've forgotten my backpack when I've gone to school.
[] I've lost my backpack.
[] I've come close to dying.
[] I've seen someone die.
[87] I've known someone who has died.
[88] I've wanted to be an actor/actress at some point.
[] I've done modeling.
[89] I've forgotten to brush my teeth some mornings.
[90] I've taken something/someone for granted.
[91] I've realized how good my life is.
[92] I've counted my blessings.
[93] I've made fun of a classmate.
[] I've been asked out by someone and I said no.
[] I've slapped someone in the face.
[94] I've been skateboarding.
[95] I've been backstabbed by someone I thought was a friend.
[96] I've lied to someone to their face.
[97] I've told a little white lie.
[98] I've taken a day off from school just so I don't go insane.
[] I've fainted.
[] I've had an argument with someone about whether cheerleading is a sport or not.
[99] I've pushed someone into a pool.
[100] I've been pushed into a pool.
[101] I've been/am in love.
there!, Hello

Gaming Allusions and Another Novel Down

So last night was the Thursday Night Deadlands game (after some hiatus). A fun session, which plumbed the depths of a regular Hell on Earth.

However, my favorite part of the night was the fact that someone caught one of my allusions. Everything I read or watch gets stuck up in my brainpan, and often finds a way into my work (fiction and gaming both receive ample doses, though they obviously have slight differences; the latter is a bit more "disposable" -- once out, it's gone; no revisions allowed -- and therefore a bit more precious). Soooo last night, among the many little tidbits of cultural influence that fed the work, I dropped this "[The zombie dad] looks at his hands as though thinking 'These used to be strong'." Kewl Point to shadowravyn for picking up that this was from The Neverending Story, a movie that I regret having rewatched in my adult years (boy has that one age terribly). However, in my recollection (based on when I first saw it in theaters, when I was... oh... eight? nine?), it remains a resonant fantasy.
I never did read that book, alas... I wonder, would I enjoy it?

Oh, and since I'd done my preparations for Deadlands a few weeks earlier, I actually started reading a new paperback last night prior to game. Finished the book this morning at the dealership...

20) Deadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins. (Dec. 2007, Hard Case Crime, 204 pages)
I have never actually read any of the Ms. Tree graphic novels/comics. So, the character is all new for me. This marks her first novel length prose appearance. The story starts in a straightforward enough fashion:

A wealthy woman is found in a no-tell motel, holding the smoking pistol responsible for killing her adulterous husband and the hooker he was sleeping with. For the police, this is an open and shut case: obvious homicide. For the woman's attorney, however, there are a few too many inconsistencies in the back story. Enter Ms. Michael Tree (yep, her actual name is Michael) and the Tree Detective Agency. As is often the case in mystery novels, there is something much deeper and darker going on than what is visible at surface level. Tree and her group plumb the depths of the case, and discover links to the murder of Ms. Tree's husband (a second Michael) a year earlier, as well as rumors of a powerful shadowy presence pulling strings behind the scenes of plenty of other crimes...

Collins' prose is properly boiled and relentless. Amongst the tough woman/guy chatter, we have plenty of snark and witticisms as well as some lovely images (they'd make some great sequential art panels). The characters and story are intriguing for the first three quarters. In the final stages, however, the novel succumbs to that bugbear known as Economy of Characters. Best exploited in the Scooby Doo "mysteries", this is the circumstance where no one is extraneous. Everyone has a Big Part, here (no matter how unlikely). And Deadly Beloved stretched this reader's credence well past the breaking point. Harumph, says I.
there!, Hello

Killing Jack

Since I swiped his name for use in one of my C.C. Blake thrillers (surprise, mssrcrankypants!), and because I know him and consider him a colleague and friend, why should I not participate in Kill Jack Haringa On Your Blog Day?

It all started with the day's post. Slender cardboard containers filled the mailbox fit to bursting. Jack took one and examined it. No return label. Nothing but his name and address. Didn't the post office pitch fits about this sort of thing?

What could opening them hurt? Well, a lot really, and though he did not tolerate foolish decisions to Do Things That Were Highly Fucking Stupid Merely To Advance An Already Terminally Ludicrous Plot in the many novels and short stories he read for his highly acclaimed magazine Dead Reckonings, well, he opened one of these packages anyway.

A DVD screener copy fell out. Something Japanese. Artistic, bloody color splotches surrounded the artistic, exploding kanji. Center image: a nubile Japanese girl smiling eerily through her bleached hair, bloody hands holding needles and similar tools of torment. Ooooookay, thought Jack, well this looks like a heaping pile of regurgitated J-horror trash.

All the packages looked similar. Did some DVD company screw up and send him a dozen copies of the same screeners? Stupidity's extant on every level...

Still, I might as well check.

It turned out that no two containers contained materials that were quite alike. Sure, they featured the same iconography: a plethora of Photoshop facsimile images intended to tantalize those slackers stuck in the pubescent, gorehound mindset. Hell, he thought, maybe these movies were all shot Roger Corman style. When confronted with one set, plenty of time and a lack of creativity, why not crank out heaps and heaps of festering drek, slap the "unrated grindhouse cinema" (or equivalent) label on it, and then ship it out to placate slavering audiences absolutely devoid of that elusive quality known as "Good Taste"?

And what the hell was this company -- Nuku Nuku Ganbare! Studios according to labels on the discs themselves-- doing sending him unsolicited screeners, anyway? He reviewed books, damn it!

Jack dumped the screeners in his recycling bin. Not that he'd actually throw them away. He could find a home for these. Maybe foist them off on a film reviewing friend...

When Jack's wife got home, after picking up their child from daycare, she complained about the overflowing mailbox. "But I just cleaned it out." No matter, it was full again. More lousy horror movies -- apparently domestic productions, though still distributed by Nuku Nuku Ganbare! Studios -- were overflowing the mailbox. He schlepped these to dump with the previous batch, and quickly discovered the recycling bin was... gone?

Movies everywhere. The original batch of Nuku Nuku Ganbare! Studios releases had multiplied like bacteria. Even as he stood with the new batch in his hand, he could see the piles growing.

He threw the fresh collection of DVDs and turned to run.

But no critic and reviewer, despite how talented they might be, can avoid the crushing flood of crappy genre product for long...

Run, Jack tried.

Running, Jack died.