Monday, July 31, 2006

Follow-up post...

As of 4:30 today, I'm officially sick of fried chicken.

And I have two pieces left. For dinner.


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Bachelor's weekend food shopping trip

You know you can't cook when you go shopping for the weekend thusly:

1. Panera Bread, one sandwich.
2. Quiznos: one large sub.
3. KFC: one 10-piece bucket, on sale.

I think I'm going back on a diet on Monday. Sigh.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Pathetic update

I know, I haven't posted in a while. Been busy. Been moping. Been lots of uncreative things. But today... another survey! Yay! Munkee!

I swiped this from Norman, who swiped it from... well, you know the drill.

1. Have you ever been searched by the cops?

2. Do you close your eyes on roller coasters?
Nope. Though I usually have to hang onto my glasses...

3. When's the last time you've been sledding?
I don't know. When I was a kid.

4. Would you rather sleep with someone else, or alone?
Someone else. Though I'm getting good at sleeping alone.

5. Do you believe in ghosts?
I think so. Today.

6. Do you consider yourself creative?
Yes. I studied creative writing, after all.

7. Do you think O.J. killed his wife?
Yeah, though I think it would be funnier if he actually found the real killer (somewhere other than the mirror, I mean).

8. Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie?
Angelina's hotter, and clearly has a fixation for Third-World orphans (like me!), but for a relationship, I think I'd take Jen over a homewrecker.

9. Do you stay friends with your exes?

10. Do you know how to play poker?
Yup. Pretty good at it, too. Not WSOP good, but good enough to win in my buddy's game from time to time.

11. Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?
Sure. Who hasn't?

12. What's your favorite commercial?
The Sprint one with the dachshunds. ("I wanted oxen... I got all these little weiner dogs...") Or the Nextel dance party one. ("Push it!")

13. What are you allergic to?
Tuberculosis tests, iodine dye and certain "hard" fruits like apples and pears and peaches, when they're raw.

14. If you're driving in the middle of the night, and no one is around do you run red lights?

15. Do you have a secret that no one knows but you?

16. Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees?
Yankees all the way!

17. Have you ever been Ice Skating?
No. Ruined my hockey career.

18. How often do you remember your dreams?
Most of the time. I have very vivid dreams and I almost always remember at least a part of them.

19. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
Probably fairly recently. It's pretty easy to crack me up.

20. Can you name 5 songs by The Beatles?
No, but Norman did, so if you need to know 'em, go look at her answers.

21. What's the one thing on your mind now?
I never really focus on just one thing at a time.

22. Do you know who Ghetto-ass barbie is?
Nope. But I know who Super Head is.

23. Do you always wear your seat belt?

24. What cell service do you use?

25. Do you like sushi?
Sort of.

26. Have you ever narrowly avoided a fatal accident?

27. What do you wear to bed?
T-shirt, sweatpants or shorts. Mostly.

28. Been caught stealing?
Nope. I was usually the lookout.

29. What shoe size do you have?

30. Do you truly hate anyone?
Yes. Two people. And they deserve it. But I've got grudges against lots of people I don't truly hate.

31. Classic Rock or Rap?
Classic rock, or "none of the above."

32. If you could sleep with one famous person, who would it be?
Jessica Biel. She's hot.

33. Favorite Song?
I don't know. I'm not a big music person, but I like certain stuff. No one particular song comes to mind, though.

34. Have you ever sang in front of the mirror?
Yeah. Once in a while. If you call it singing.

35. What food do you find disgusting?

36. Do you sing in the shower?
Once in a while. I mostly sing in the car.

37. Did you ever play, "I'll show you mine, if you show me yours"?

38. Have you ever made fun of your friends behind their back?
Sure, but never with malice aforethought. Just bustin'. They do the same to me, I'm sure.

39. Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?
Yes. I think that's a good thing.

40. Have you ever been punched in the face?
Sure. Who hasn't?

Yay! Munkees like surveys! Steal away!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

To assuage your fears...

I've developed another obsession.

I'm cataloging my limited-edition horror fiction in a database.

So far, I have 42 hardbacks, including preorders.

It's quite fun. I spent the whole afternoon doing it on Sunday.

I haven't even read most of the books yet. But I sure do love collecting them. It seems like all I ever buy anymore are grotesquely overpriced LEs (sorry, but $40 for a hardback is overpriced, even if it rocks the house and they only printed 250 of them). I pay, I'm allowed to complain.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, all I ever buy anymore are LEs and Civil War books. At least, that's the way it feels. I'm kind of picky about my fiction, generally, but my history reading runs the gamut, though it mostly is military or aquatic in nature.

But these LEs are just fun to get. There are only a few made, they're mostly numbered, and I've run out of room on my coffee table for them.

That's right, my monkey bookends ("Big monkey sit. Little monkeys puuuuuuuuull!") are hanging off the edge of the table. That's how many books I bought.

I don't buy the "traycased, lettered" editions, which are usually limited to 26 (letters instead of numbers, you know, "A" instead of "#27 out of 250") and cost 10 times as much. You think $40-$100 is too much to pay, you're not going to pay $325.

I mean, I could, but I'd own like four books instead of 42. Where's the fun in that?

The problem is, even though I'm somewhat picky about my horror fiction, these little indie presses keep coming up with new and tantalizing books to lure me with.

For crying out loud, I'm on a first-name basis with the lady who handles Cemetery Dance's orders. Really.

Two examples of how bad this addiction can be:

A) I read a great story by a guy named Gary A. Braunbeck in an anthology called "Taverns of the Dead" (Cemetery Dance). So I looked him up online. And discovered his "Cedar Hill" stories (of which the one I read was one) are being collected in volumes by Earthling Press. $90 later, I've got both volumes, with matching numbers.

B) At Stewie's recommendation, I bought the Cemetery Dance coupon book, which features discounts from many small presses. Thousands of dollars in savings for a mere $79! Of course, it's not like you get nothing but free books. They're discounts. Meaning I may have saved like $75, but I spent $75 I might not have otherwise. Of course, now I have Caitlin R. Kiernan's "lost" first novel, from Subterranean Press...

See what I mean? I'm on about six small press mailing lists, and almost every month I see something I really, really, really want.

Normally, I wait for things like a CD special sale (i.e. get $200 of credit for $80!, which is how I managed to buy "Taverns of the Dead" and the recently arrived "Mondo Zombie" for much less than their lists). But sometimes, a sale just ain't coming. And that's why I'm pretty sure by Thursday (payday!) I'll cave on the one from Subterranean I'm staring at now, despite its $100 price tag. It's right up my alley, it involves a great author's work, and work inspired by same. And there's even a Vietnam connection.

(If the phrase "samurai zombies" doesn't sell you on "Mondo Zombie," well, how'd you manage to read this far into the post? Hee!)

So this is what now occupies the front corner of my mind, instead of all the things that should.

Cemetery Dance Publications, for my money the bestest small press out there
Borderlands Press, publishers of the fine "Adversary Cycle" from F. Paul Wilson
Shocklines, with its own imprint and inventory from others
Bloodletting Press, also with its own imprint and inventory from others
Delirium Books
Earthling Publications
Necessary Evil Press
Subterranean Press
I'm sure there are others I've missed. But hey, one of the joys for me is finding a new imprint and seeing what they've got. Poke around. You'll find some linked off some of these sites, and find more by Googling authors.

Sports "Charley Foxtrot" of the day: The New York Islanders fired their general manager, the former Stanley Cup winner Neil Smith, after ONE FREAKIN' MONTH today, and replaced him with... their backup goalie, Garth Snow. No lie.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

On a lighter note...

I'm also developing a mild addiction to the daily crossword puzzle.

My Dad's done the New York Times puzzle every day for as long as I can remember. And he's pretty darn good at it, too.

I'm not that good, but I'm getting there. I can ace the easy puzzles (early in the week) and I even finished Saturday's toughie yesterday. I don't know what puzzles we get in our paper, but there are two, a simple one and a harder one via the Tribune news service, so maybe it's the Chicago Tribune puzzle. I don't know. But I do the harder one at night when I get home - I read the paper at night after work, so I'm perpetually a day behind, but that's what happens when you're always running late in the morning/afternoon.

A slightly more reasonable interest also sparked by a random Hawaii time-killer.

On the other hand, I'm searching Amazon for 10/22 books in my other browser window.


A dangerous obsession

I fear I brought something back with me from Hawaii besides a list of cool journalism Weblinks and a newfound appreciation for the Asian female form.

I got a kick out of surfing, and snorkeling ruled.

But what I can't stop thinking about is...


Remember the shooting range I went to? The one where I aced it with the Ruger 10/22 rifle?

I used to live near a shooting range. I drove past it all the time (it was on my commute from my old apartment). The other day, I stopped in. Fortunately or un, they were closed.

I've never owned a gun. Heck, until Hawaii, I'd never FIRED a gun. I played soldier all the time as a kid. I write stories and scripts with guns galore.

But frankly, the reason I never bought one (back before I knew you could, um, rent them at a shooting gallery) was simple: I always figured if I had a gun in the house, someday, I'd put it in my mouth and pull the trigger.

I'd like to think I'm well past that stage now, between something vaguely resembling maturity and, well, pharmaceuticals. But who ever knows.

That doesn't even take into account the ideas of a) accidentally shooting oneself; and b) children in the house. Not that there are any of those, really, but still. There was a kid in the paper the other day who blew away his little buddy playing around with one of his family's 98 guns.

But honest to God, I can't stop thinking about how good it felt to put that rifle to my shoulder, put something in the crosshairs and SQUEEZE THE FUCKING TRIGGER. It was amazing. No worries about recoil, weight (unlike those heavier, later pistols), my rotten vision (I was wearing my glasses), or anything. Just some seriously accurate shooting.

Now, I'm quite sure a .22 rifle couldn't bring down a charging dachshund, but it's hardly a toy. It's a freakin' gun. And I don't know the first thing about guns and ammo.

To what I'd like to think is my credit, I went to the gun range not to buy a Ruger or anything like that, but to inquire about safety courses and other general questions like that.

But that means I'm actually thinking about getting a gun. Because I'm assuming at a non-tourist gun range, you can't just pick one up and open fire, you've got to actually bring your own. And take care of it, and clean it (which to my way of thinking is when most people accidentally shoot themselves in the freakin' face), and whatever.

I've owned knives of the non-kitchen kind and I sometimes think about getting a nice Daisho samurai sword set for the mantel, despite the fact that I tried to cut my wrists once. But I honestly don't think I meant to do it, despite being thoroughly morose, brokenhearted and drunk as a skunk, because I couldn't break the skin with a Swiss Army knife that I can tell you for a fact cuts open boxes and sliced my sheets all the way to the mattress.

So bladed weapons don't really scare me. I've played D&D since I was 8, after all. But guns, guns do kind of make me wonder.

Two of my classmates committed suicide via firearm my senior year. One shot himself in the mouth with a .22 pistol. He died on the operating table and had an open-casket funeral. (If you've never seen a .22 bullet it looks like a flippin' toy. Really. It's that small.) His best friend, two weeks later, put a shotgun in his mouth. Needless to say, he didn't have an open-casket funeral.

Thing is, you wouldn't catch me buying a shotgun. Too big, too powerful, too unwieldy, to my way of thinking.

But that 10/22, that was just my size. And by God, I was good with it.

You know me, though. I'm starting to obsess. And I can see where this is going. And I can't say I like it. But I can't say I don't, either. What a rush that was. God, it felt so good. Must be my inner redneck coming out.

But some days, I find myself Googling "Ruger 10/22" and looking over the results. And thinking about scopes, and targets, and that feeling of power and adrenaline and God knows what else you don't get at a desk fixing typos.

It's frightening, in my head. In my gut, though, I want - literally - another shot. Every single day.

I'm glad that store isn't on my commute anymore. I'm finding excuses already not to go in.

"The 'funnest' little rifle ever built"
The Ruger site, which actually uses the word "varmint"
Evidently, it's the weapon of choice of Jews as well as "varmint" hunters
An old article on the Royal Hawaiian Shooting Club, to blame for my current state of mind
I understand almost none of this Wikipedia entry; that can't be good
Books like this scare me, too

Yes, I realize buying a rifle is probably also bad for my reputation, given said reputation as a bit of a psychotic to begin with. So many factors to weigh against THAT FEELING.


I hate having an addictive personality. Bad enough I spend all my money on DVDs, media guides and limited-edition horror books and still probably drink too much from time to time. Now this.

(Aside, another thing I'm left to ponder, post-Hawaii, is that whole personal essay thing. I'm still thinking of writing one, or more, and I might post them here eventually, which violates my whole no-editing rule, but I don't really feel up to pitching them to the paper, assuming I even write them.)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Irony of the Day candidates

Two little items that struck me as funny, or perhaps ironic, at least in an Alanis Morissette kind of way.

(I once had a wise co-worker give the best differentiation between coincidence and irony I've ever heard: If it makes you cringe, it's irony. I've supplemented that with: If it makes you laugh, it probably is, too.)


Item 1: A very unhealthy and imprisoned Jack "Dr. Death" Kevorkian says he won't commit suicide.

Item 2: Pete Coors, head of the pisswater beer company that bears his name, gets himself cited for driving under the influence.

By the way, speaking of "I fought the law and the law won," what's up with the Cincinnati Bengals?

They drafted a guy today who got kicked off his college team, ostensibly to replace the guy who just got suspended for a drug violation.

That's on top of the not one, but two draft picks who got arrested/charged before they could even sign - one after sliding in the draft because he got arrested on the eve of his bowl game - and the second-year player who's been arrested four times since Christmas alone.

I'm a Raiders fan (you know, John Matuszak, Todd Marinovich, Lyle Alzado, Bill Romanowski) and even I'm going, "What's up with that?"

Must be something in the water in the AFC North. The Steelers' first-round pick has been busted twice since the draft himself.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

What about the rest of the 15 minutes?

The other night, I was thinking about the movie "Aliens," my favorite movie, and it got me thinking about something else:

Why is it that some people can be a major (or at least well-known) part of a hit movie, and then just disappear off the face of the Earth, careerwise?

Think of the Marines in "Aliens."

Michael Biehn (Hicks), you know.
Bill Paxton (Hudson), you know.
Jenette Goldstein (Vazquez), you know.

If only as character actors, you've seen them in plenty of movies.

Mark Rolston (Drake), you probably don't know by name, but you've seen him, too.

The others... they've never done anything else, really. Sure, William Hope (Gorman) and Daniel Kash (Spunkmeyer) have done some minor stuff, and Trevor Steedman (Wierzbowski) is a stuntman, and poor Tip Tipping (Crowe), another stuntman, died in an accident.

But Ricco Ross (Frost) has been reduced to B-movies and Al Matthews (Sgt. Apone) to bit parts. Colette Hiller (Ferro) and Cynthia Scott (Dietrich) have pretty much never done anything else.

It's not like these were minor roles. These guys had lines. Serious lines. Well, maybe not the two stuntmen... Wierzbowski even has a Web site devoted entirely to spotting his three or four appearances on-screen.

But outside of the leads, famous actors all (except the child star Carrie Henn, who gave up acting), these guys are the heart and soul of the movie. I suppose it's easy to draw parallels between the size of their roles and their future career prospects, but still.

It just makes me think about that whole "where are they now" bit and why some people just don't make it despite having a top movie role on their reel.

There are other examples. "Platoon." Think of the movie. You've got Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Charlie Sheen. If you look, you can spot Tony "Candyman" Todd and Kevin "Entourage" Dillon and even a young Johnny Depp. Then there's the commander of the titular platoon, Lt. Wolfe, the out-of-his depth ROTC. Until he scored a plum role on "Desperate Housewives," some 15 years later, poor Mark Moses had never advanced past the TV guest star stage and roles like "Guy in Coffeeshop" and "Football Dad," even as everyone around him became a movie star. What did he do wrong that delayed success so?

If you ever want to amuse yourself, Google a favorite genre star from the '80s or whenever your childhood was. It's funny to see where they turn up - if at all.

When I was a kid, I had a crush on a scream queen named Juliette Cummins, a redhead who mostly got naked and dead in movies like "Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning" and "Slumber Party Massacre II." Her seminal role was probably a victim's part in "Psycho III" that featured an extended sex scene and a startling, brutal death scene. It showed up on pay cable when I was in the throes of puberty and my parents' cable box was descrambling the wrong channels, and I was in love with her, feathered hair and all.

Her movie career pretty much ended after 1991, based on the IMDB, but...

Some poking around reveals she's an acting teacher out in L.A. (and still lovely). What she could teach, based on the roles I've seen her in, I have no idea, but on the other hand, she's been in about a half-dozen more studio-backed horror films than most aspiring actors. OK, so she popped her top in most of them, but still.

Anyway, you get the point. Not every memorable role turns into something better. Funny how fickle Hollywood fate can be.

"Aliens," if you don't believe me
The Wierzbowski Hunters
The Carolyne Barry acting school, where Juliette Cummins apparently used to teach

Thursday, July 06, 2006

What if God was one of us? Yeah, right

God is watching us.

You want proof? Look no further than Colorado, where disgraced ex-Enron boss Ken Lay dropped dead yesterday at his vacation home. Massive coronary, not even 65.

Yeah, guess we don't have to wait for the judge-with-a-little-j to sentence him, the Judge-with-a-big-J did the trick.

("Hey, Pete, I'll bet I can hit that guy from over here!" Zap! Lightning bolt!)

For you unbelievers, I offer as evidence this:

Remember when Opie & Anthony got thrown off the radio for enticing two listeners to have sex on the air... in a church?

The couple got caught, and got charged. And before the guy (half) had his day in court...

That's right.

He dropped dead. Not even 40, if memory serves. Bam. Heart attack.

Just like Ken Lay.

Hmm. This dude ruined thousands of people's lives at Enron, cost thousands their jobs, cost thousands their life savings, and he had the gall to await sentencing in his VACATION HOME???

Yeah, that'd be the proverbial one-way express elevator to hell... going down!

I'm not a religious man. But I do believe. And yes, sometimes I wonder where God is, when children die, when tragedies take place, when justice doesn't prevail.

And then, sometimes, the Good Lord gets Old Testament on somebody and I think, boy, I'd better stay on His good side. As the comedian Lewis Black points out, that Old Testament God is a prick. (Unlike the mellow New Testament God, Who he suggests maybe relaxed a little after the birth of his son.)

Oh, yeah, I definitely believe in that higher power. I'm not saying I'll become a Republican or join the Religious Right or anything. Or even give up my Saturday morning I'm-not-in-temple nap.

Now if Jeff Skilling keels over, too, then maybe...

Ken Lay, losing the big appeal
Coronary artery disease, avenger of Enron 401(k)s
Enron, in case you've forgotten
And speaking of people who believe in the End of Days, Dubya and Kenny Boy
Finally, a bit of Bible quoting: Vengeance is whose?

And now for something completely different... allow me to direct you to The Lesley's latest blog, which is mostly about sappy Real love, but also features a knitted sock-monkey hat.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Diarii updated

I added some photos to my Hawaii Diarii, and put a link in the sidebar on the right.

Your other right.

I realized I didn't take a ton of pictures, and even fewer pictures to illustrate the diary, but I tried. So some entries have two or three pictures, and some don't have any. And some pictures aren't really what they're illustrating. But hey. I'm an editor, not a photographer. What can I say?

I also added links so you can go from one post to the next, in the appropriate order. I thought about adding links within the text to external sites, but it didn't really seem appropriate.

Anyway, for those who haven't read... enjoy!

And for those who have, thanks, and go back and check out the pictures!