Monday

[amy] I love the Vacation's

I'm out all week, fools. I'm moving. For real this time. I know I've been talking about it but I'm, like, totally doing it for real this week. I went out and got a dish drainer and a garbage can and all kinds of shit. I'll be back next week with pictures of my crap-ass painting job and my second-hand broken furniture. Right on.

In the meanwhile, check out Y.P.R. Loves "I Love the...". I think my piece about my hatred for "I Love the 90's" should be up sometime this week. Or not. I think it might be, though. They said it would.

Peace.

Wednesday

[books] Have we learned nothing from I, Robot?

The next time you go to a Library, a robot may be the one to go and get your book for you. In an effort to either (a) draw more people to those big buildings that house all those bound-up paper things or (b) eradicate Librarians completely, you'll see robots use voice recogniton to register what book it is you want, race down isles at 45 m.p.h., shoot out lasers in a 360 degrees to scan all the books and grab the one you want. If you ask for something that isn't in stock, the robot will kill you but tell the police, "I is no murder him!"

[games] Nooooooo!!

I'm trying to remember. There's the book, of course. Soon there'll be a movie. It's increasing tourism... I'm sure there's a clothing label/line of Da Vinci wear. Now there's a game. When will the insanity end?!? ... I have to say, though, the game looks quite boring. Maybe you can turn it into a drinking game?

[art] look a little deeper

New pics up at explodingdog.

[books] Has Artemis Fowl been optioned yet? What about Eragon?

G.P. Taylor's Shadowmancer (a.k.a. The Christian Harry Potter) has just been optioned for a cool million.

I guess the cool thing to do now is to make every popular children't book into a movie so that kids don't need to read anymore.

Tuesday

[great] Spider-Man: The Peril of Doc Ock

This short film is super. And get this... It's ALL LEGOs.

[funny] But I'm still bitter...

2004 Results for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest have been announced. Why are the winners always about food?

I poo-poo on that shimp vein one. I didn't even crack a smile. I liked these, though:

"Detective Micky Blarke arrived on the scene at 2:14 am, and gave his cigarette such a severe pull that rookie Paul Simmons swore the insides of the detective's cheeks touched, but the judge indicated that that amount of detail was not necessary in his testimony, and instructed the jury to disregard that statement."

"To her dismay, Julia found that her right hand seemed to be pulling her into an increasingly horizontal position; first her wrist and forearm, then her upper arm and shoulder, until her cheek lay on her shoulder, leaving her to surmise that the handrail of the airport's moving sidewalk progressed at a more rapid pace than the sidewalk itself."

Friday

[funny] Commercials demanding to know about my personal life

Yesterday, while knitting and listening to the t.v., a frequently reoccurring commercial appeared. It goes something like, "Are you a Home Owner? If so, refinance blah blah mortgage blah blah." Just another boring local commercial. Only this time, the commercial was cut off just as it was beginning and all I heard was a man's voice, loudly asking me, "Are you a homo?!" I looked up, only to see a pet store commercial.

Thursday

[book] Courtney and Ai

Courtney Love can't stay out of the news. All kinds of shit has been going down recently: missed court dates, a miscarriage/abortion, clinics, etc. In a probably much needed escape from reality, she's now the star of a new manga series entitled Princess Ai. It would be an interesting read, I think. I just worry Courtney would be sitting on the floor of her trashed apartment, reading her own story by the sparse daylight filtering through her broken window blinds, absently stroking her Pomeranian (who's been dead for weeks now but she never noticed), murmuring, "Ai... Ai... I am Ai..." I keep getting really sad visions like that when I think about her.

Wednesday

[stupid] When is Ann Coulter going to sign on as sponsor?

In one of the stupidest moves from Republicans I've seen in, oh, a week, there's a new right-wing ketchup. You know, because those idiots are all fired up about the "Heintz" thing. My only question is: What the fuck?



Some comments from the democrats:

Stupid stupid stupid.
— J.M. & S.M.

Thank our Right-winged, Aryan, Christian, Strictly Heterosexual Male Lord Above! My Freedom Fries were getting lonely, but now I can dip them into some W Ketchup with good old Republican Pride. Praise be to God and His Glorious Ketchup! Love,
— T.W.

P.S. How fitting that the crimson red color of your product should remind us of all the native and foreign blood we have shed to build this proud nation.

Your site is a bunch of bull. You equate to that of a terrorist, divisive, mean spirited, obnoxious, misleading, and doomed to defeat in November. You will need a straw to drink the surplus of ketchup you'll have.
— B.

Question: I didn't find it in the FAQ so will ask it here. You are kidding, right? This is about the dumbest thing I have seen since Freedom Fries.
— R.H.

[via low culture]

[amy] I don't do favors for free.

My mother’s on vacation for a couple weeks. Apparently it’s too stressful buying things and gardening all day long, so she’s taking a train all over Alaska and then a cruise ship down to Vancouver. She asked Barbara and I to stop in her place while she’s gone to feed the cat, pick up the paper and perform other daily duties to dissuade any would-be burglars. She called us down to her place on Monday night to go over an extensive list of telephone numbers, instructions on how to operate the telephone, light switches and cans of cat food. Out of everything, she was most paranoid about water running in the toilet if, god forbid, we had to use the bathroom. She went so far as to tell us to stand in front of the toilet after flushing and stare at it until the water stops.

Last night, Barbara and I stop by to feed Fluffy. I had planned on relocating some of my mother's furniture and cooking pots to my new place but Barbara drew the line at food. As I saw it, I was doing her a favor; It makes sense to take perishable food so that she doesn’t come back to a rotten refrigerator.

“Let’s seeeeee,” I say, poking around the fridge, “What’s for supper tonight? Lettuce? Gotta take that. Cucumbers? Those won’t last two weeks.”

I start shoving food into a grocery bag while Barbara goes to the bathroom.

“Green peppers? Tsk, tsk.” Into the bag they go.

I move on to the cabinets and cupboards. “Tequila? Oh dear, that’s bound to go off. Vodka, cookies, tea… If I don’t clear this stuff out of here, there’ll be mice crawling all over the place.”

By the time my sister comes around the corner into the kitchen, the cupboards are bare and I’m surrounded by 12 grocery bags.

“There were two signs in the bathroom,” she tells me, “that say 'MAKE SURE THE TOILET IS STOP RUNNING!!'”

I stop and listen. “It’s still running,” I say.

“I’m sure it’ll stop eventually.”

“Whatever,” I say, picking up several bags and kicking the rest toward Barbara. “Let’s get out of here.”

Tuesday

[vermont] Something cool in my town? I don't believe it.

Get this: A Center for Cartoon Studies is starting this Fall in White River Jct. WRJ. I can't believe it. How cool is that? As long as it doesn't cost a bundle, I'm signing up, man.



[via uvScene]

Monday

[games] Lunch Money

Found a delightful card game this past weekend called Lunch Money. The premise is that you’re all little girls, beating the shit out of each other to the point of unconsciousness. Seriously. Barbara, Jason, Ryan and I played at here’s a sample of our dialogue…

RYAN: I run up to Jason and kick him for four.
JASON: No, you don’t. I block that. I take out my chain, twirl it above my head and whack Amy across the face with it.
AMY: Ouch, that hurts. I’ll take the two. I grab Ryan…
RYAN: Yeah?
AMY: And deliver you a big combo: I push you to the ground and give you a piledriver to the kidney.
RYAN: The pain. I’ll take the six.
BARBARA: Amy, I give you a spinning backfist.
AMY: Oop, I dodge that and you’re spinning backfist is heading straight for Jason’s face.
JASON: And… I block it.
RYAN: Whew. Barbara, this uppercut’s for you.
BARBARA: Yawn. I dodge it.
JASON: How about a second helping of chain, Amy.
AMY: You and that stupid chain. I block it and grab you…
JASON. Uh oh… and?
AMY: How about a powerplay, my friend? I kick you in the nuts and-
BARBARA: I don’t think so. It’s humiliation time, Amy. When you go to kick Jason, you accidentally let a huge fart rip.
AMY: How embarrassing. You’re lucky I had all that Mexican last night, Jason. I’ll make you pay for this Barbara and you’re currency will be in bruises and cuts.
BARBARA: Whatever. Jason?
JASON: Hey, you just saved me!
BARBARA: Yeah- for myself. I take out my hammer and swing it at you.
JASON: I disarm you.
BARBARA: Shit.

This has got to be one of the most violent and fun games I’ve played. I wish there were a cheat sheet for all the combos/actions, though. For example, you can only put someone in the headlock after you’ve grabbed them. You can only perform a powerplay after you’ve grabbed them. You can only run away like a little girl after you’ve been grabbed, not when someone tries to maim you. A few more games, though, and we’ll have it down…

[books] a sleeper hit

I read two trade paperbacks this weekend Sleeper: Out in the Cold and Sleeper: All False Moves. This series literally blew my mind out the back of my head and since I'm not thinking clearly, I'll post what's written on Ed Brubaker's site:

Plot:
"Secret Agent Holden Carver is a man on a mission -- only nobody left alive seems to know it.

Holden Carver is part of a world-spanning secret organization headed by Tao, super-manipulator and ruthless criminal mastermind. He is also a sleeper agent, forced into a world of evil and treachery by master spy John Lynch, who now lies in an irreversible coma, the only living soul able to bear witness that Carver is actually one of the good guys. Now, ensnared in an ongoing game of cat and mouse, every day is a challenge for Holden to evade detection by those who think he is an ally, avoid capture from those who believe he is a traitor, and somehow survive with his soul intact.

What's a spy to do when no one knows he's been left out in the cold?"


Praise:
"A perfectly paranoid super-powered espionage tale" -- Entertainment Weekly

"Smart, cool and cruelly funny. Brubaker finds dozens of ways to use the metaphorical force of superhero comics to feed the spy story that underlies this tale... Phillips' shadowy art is far more noir than heroic slick." -- Publisher's Weekly

"Noirish, twisted, unexpected, an anti-hero for a hero, and just damn good on top of all of that. It's rare that a comic book can bust all the conventions of a genre. With SLEEPER, Brubaker and Phillips have shattered them into itty-bitty pieces." -- John Ridley, writer of Three Kings

"Quite possibly the most underrated title on the racks today... SLEEPER delivers non-stop entertainment from cover to cover." -- Wizard Magazine

"SLEEPER is to comics what the Sopranos was to TV, a breath of fresh air and a look at a familiar genre with a whole new pair of eyes." -- TheFourthRail.com

"...Certainly the best series to hit the shelves since Preacher made its debut... I think it's safe to say that Sleeper can take its place among the best comic books. Of all time." -- Aint it Cool News

* * * * *

What happened was, I’d been trying to get this trade off Tom at the Funnybook Factory for a while now. Every time I went in to get it, it was sold out because Tom was pushing it on everyone who walking into his shop. Even the one he had reserved for me and placed inside my in-store holding box was sold to someone else while I was out of town for work. I didn’t get too pissed off about it because even though Tom said he’d give me his satisfaction guarantee, the whole Preacher fiasco left a bad taste in my mouth. I thought, “Well, it Tom thinks it’s that good, it must be raunchy, perverted and violent garbage.”

I finally went to get the first trade of season one on Friday. Tom was coming over to the house that night to play Halo and said jokingly, as he was ringing up by purchases, “I expect a review of this by the time I come over.” Sure, whatever. I’ll get to it when I get to it. At home, I read through Y: The Last Man #24 and The Witching #1 first and toyed with Bear #5 before picking up Sleeper: Out in the Cold. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. It’s got violence, sex, superheroes and villains. The Funnybook Factory closes at 8pm; by 7:30pm, I was calling the shop…

DOUG: Funnybook Factory.
AMY: Tom?
DOUG: No, this is Doug.
AMY: Oh, hi Doug. It’s Amy.
DOUG: Hey Amy.
AMY: When you and Tom come over, can you tell Tom to bring volume two of Sleeper. I’ll pay him when he gets here.
DOUG: Sure.
AMY: … Don’t forget to tell him, okay? Bring volume two.
DOUG: Okay.
AMY: I got the money here. If he forgets, I’ll kill him. I’ll KILL him.
DOUG: Jesus, all right. He’ll bring it.
AMY: Okay, thanks. Bye.

Yeah, it’s that good.

Friday

[books] An upcoming tome...

Bookmunch lists some 2004 Gubbins. I have no idea what "gubbins" means and a google / dictionary search revealed nothing helpful...

I'm mosting interested in Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Yes, I loved An Instance of the Fingerpost and The Crimson Petal and the White. I had never heard of Charles Palliser's The Quincunx and have now added it to my wish list.

There isn't too much in the way of a description over at Amazon, but there's more at Amazon.co.uk and the book sounds pretty friggin' interesting:

"Centuries ago when magic still existed in England, the greatest magician of them all was the Raven King. A human child brought up by fairles, the Raven King blended fairy wisdom and human reason to create English magic. Now at the beginning of the nineteenth century, he is barely more than a legend, and England, with its mad King and its dashing poets, no longer believes in practical magic. Then the reclusive Mr Norrell of Hurtfew Abbey appears and causes the statues of York Cathedral to speak and move. News spreads of the return of magic to England and, persuaded that he must help the government in the war against Napoleon, Mr Norrell goes to London. There he meets a brilliant young magician and takes him as a pupil. Jonathan Strange is charming, rich and arrogant. Together, they dazzle the country with their feats. But the partnership soon turns to rivairy. Mr Norrell has never conquered his lifelong habits of secrecy, while Strange will always be attracted to the wildest, most perilous magic. He becomes fascinated by the shadowy figure of the Raven King, and his heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens, not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he hold "

Everthing that he hold... what? That's where the synopsis ends. Verrrrry interestink.

Thursday

[books] Good News and Bad News

There's a new issue of Bookslut up. There are all kinds of interesting interviews and reviews. Also, I've selected China Mieville's Perdido Street Station to read next. I don't usually announce what book I'm going to read because it sounds like I'm awarding them a prize: I choose you, book, to entertain me next. Congratulations. I've been meaning to read this one for a while and all the glowing reviews really impressed me. I'm talking glowing reviews: "This book knocked my socks off," "This is the best book I've ever read in my life," "The most stunning book ever," etc. AND there's a blurb from Neil Gaiman on the cover. Shit, I don't know why I waited so long before cracking into it.

But at Bookslut, Adam Lipkin reviews Mieville's newest book, Iron Council and says of it: "Although not as god-awfully unreadable as the immensely overrated Perdido Street Station (whose popularity can be ascribed to either a massive desire within fandom to break out of the Tolkienesque mold, or a sheeplike tendency to worship the Hot Author of the Day, depending on how charitable one feels), MiƩville does his best to undermine every good paragraph with at least two pages of utter junk."

Wh... What? Unreadable? Overrated? We'll see about, Lipkin. If it turns out to be one of the best- nay, THE BEST book I've ever read, you'll be hearing from me...

Tuesday

[vermont] Never have to unplug

Gee, Vermont is one of the last places I'd expect something like this to take place. While camping, I don't usually want to check my email, news, etc... Although, this would help with feeding my neopets when away...

[books] The Power of The Da Vinci Code

Not only is The Da Vinci Code one of the all-time best-selling books, not only has everyone in the world apparently read it and it's not even in paperback yet, not only is it going to be a feature film starring Harrison Ford (who, I think, is too old for the role) and not only is it one of the most debated and renounced fictional books, it's also increasing tourism. Now I'm just waiting for the book to cure cancer.

[books] Weekend Reading

The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith
I had been meaning to finish this book for a while. It was good. I liked it but didn’t love it. This is the fourth in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. What made the first few so enjoyable (the simplicity of the story/characters/mysteries) suddenly felt dull to me in this installment. So I tossed to book aside with only about 50 pages left to finish, not really caring whether or not Mma Ramotswe got married or whether or not any of the cases got resolved. I did go back to it over the weekend simply because I was in dire need for something to read and couldn’t figure out which book I wanted to crack into. In the end: Happy Botswana Ending. Was I expecting anything different? The next one in the series, Full Cupboard of Life, sounds just as exiting as the rest: Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni installs a new seatbelt into Mma Ramotswe’s van, Mma Makutsi’s new house will have running water, everyone drinks a lot of bush tea. Alexander McCall Smith is a wonderful storyteller but his books should be reserved for when you’re coming out of a depression and want something simple and happy to read.

Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell (Illustrator)
I’d read a review somewhere that this children’s book is painfully formulaic: Main character sets off on an adventure, meets a new character every chapter, gets into some kind of trouble every chapter, gets out of said trouble every chapter, ends up facing bad-guy and finding out some truth about himself. Well, yeah; that’s a pretty accurate description of the book only, you’d be missing all the wonderful (and original) characters he comes into contact with. I really enjoyed this book and honestly couldn’t put it down. The types of people, places and plants are really fun. The drawings are especially good. I will say, though, a side character died and I wholly wasn’t expecting it. In fact, it really made me upset that a lovable new character was introduced only to die five pages later. Not cool.

Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth’s Last Days by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
I knew the premise of this story (Millions of people on Earth disappear when they’re taken by God up to heaven) and it sounded a little too much like The Stand for me. In the end, I was pleasantly surprised with this book because it was so thoroughly realized. The story is taken directly from the Bible, describing what the Rapture would be like and Trials and Tribulations afterward. The Antichrist is rapidly coming into power. It’s all very exciting. This book mostly deals with the disappearances and the week afterward. My sister saw me reading this book and asked, “Isn’t that book, like, pseudo-religious or something?” Not pseudo. It IS religious and that might put some people off from reading it. Granted, the story does come off as preachy at times but the book (and series) is basically a novelized version of Revelations. It’s still an exciting and interesting read. Now I’ve got to finish the whole series and, for fun, read Right Behind and Kiss My - - Left Behind.

Friday

[books] Such a thing as being over-helpful.

SCENE: After searching Border's Bookstore high and low for a children’s chapter book, Amy uses a “Title Sleuth” computer at the Help pavilion to make sure that the book is actually in stock…

AMY: click click click…

CLERK 1 (behind desk): Can I help you find something?

AMY: Uh, I’m not sure. It says that you have a book “In store” but I wasn’t able to find it when-

CLERK 1: Okay, what’s the name of the book?

AMY: Beyond the Deepwoods.

CLERK 1: ClickityClickityClickityClickity… [Long pause…] Click… Okay, what’s the author’s name?

AMY: Paul Stewart, but you know, I can look around if you’re sure you have it in stock-

CLERK 1: ClickityClickityClickityClicky Okay, here it is.

AMY: I looked around in the Young Adult section and-

CLERK 1: Okay, this is an Independent Reader so it’s not in Young Adult. It’s in the Kiddie section, over here, under Independent Reader. [Running toward Kiddie section]

AMY: [Following] I did look over here and-

CLERK 2 (in Kiddie Section): What are you looking for?

CLERK 1: Last name “Stewart,” Independent Reader.

CLERK 2: Is it hardcover or paperback?

CLERK 1: …

AMY: Hardcover, but I can-

CLERK 2: Okay, the paperback Independent Readers are over here but the hardcovers are over here so it should be here. [Looking…] Stewart…

CLERK 1: [Looking…] Stewart. It’s Stewart…

AMY: [Knows it’s not there because she looked already.]

CLERK 2: Okay, what’s the name of the book?

AMY: “Beyond-

CLERK 1: “Beyond the Deepwoods.” Deepwoods is one word.

CLERK 2: [At another computer] CLickityClickityClickityClickity

AMY (to CLERK 1): I think I can take it from here. Thanks for the help.

CLERK 1: Okay. [Exaunt]

CLERK 2: [Returns] Okay, this IS an Independent Reader but because it’s part of a series it’s over here in the series section filed under “E” for “Edge Chronicles.”

AMY: Look, I don’t give a shit. Just find the book.

CLERK 2: I know it seems like a convoluted way to organize things but it should be here in this section… [Looking…]

AMY: You’re looking right above it.

CLERK 2: It should be… some where… around… here…

AMY: I see it. It’s right under your right hand.

CLERK 2: …

AMY: HERE IT IS! [Grabs book.]

CLERK 2: Okay, there it is.

AMY: Thanks.

CLERK 2: [Looking at AMY]

AMY: What do you, want a tip? Get lost.

CLERK 2: Okay. [Exaunt]

...The End...

Thursday

O Canada Baby

If your baby's born on Canada Day, does that make him/her Canadian? Congrats to a co-worker who gave birth to her daughter early this morning. She was almost two weeks past her due date but was in labor for a total of two hours. TWO HOURS! She apparently only needed to push three times. Anyway, the little 9lb, 11oz button is doing just fine.

[books] More reading material, please

Yea! A new July issue of BookPage is out. Some highlights:

Are you as sick of the shitty chick lit books as me? Eric Garcia (author of the Anonymous Rex series) is coming out with an anti-chick lit satire enitled Cassandra French's Finishing School for Boys.

"The theme of so many of these chick-lit books seems to be, I am this woman who deserves something great and here are these men who are . . . good, not great. They're not what I want them to be but. . . . And they tend to spend the next 300 pages of the book or 90 minutes of the movie sort of whining about it. I'm like, that's just not a strong character. Who wants to hear somebody whine for that long? So I thought, what would a stronger-willed character do?"

Apparently, a stronger-willed character keeps men handcuffed to cots in her basement... Sounds all right to me.

But then, what the hell? There's a list of new chick-lit books out.

For the young adult, there's The Game of Sunken Places by M.T. Anderson. I'd like to read it for three reasons: (1) Inspired (in part) by The Chronicles of Narnia, (2) this is the same author who wrote Feed and (3) the book takes place in Vermont.

International books of mystery.

All of it looks good. Start reading... NOW!