Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Who Watches the Watchmen?

I do, that's who.
Finally, finally, finally.

Went to see it at the Grand, $5 Tuesdays, and I'd have paid twice that. Wish I could make it Today's Pick, but we'll have to wait until it's out on DVD.

Very true to the graphic novel, which I bought an issue at a time back in 1984-85. And very surprising even so. The gentle voice of Dr. Manhattan. The extreme graphic violence of the combat. The graphic sex in the flying machine. The swinging blue -- well, if you read the graphic novel, you could guess. So read it:

It's a dense, metafictional, illustrated novel, and it was made into a dense, metafictional motion picture, with HUGE ideas backed by great performances and incredible effects. It doesn't blink or compromise. And it expects the audience to think, to view it multiple times to catch all the winks and nods and references, just like the book demands.

One of the storylines removed from the movie (part of the book's metafiction) is the comicbook-within-the-comicbook, "Tales of the Black Freighter." It's on DVD now, but I haven't seen it. You might want to check it out:

But be warned: It's dark.

Today's Word: Rorschach.

Say G'night Sally.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Prince of Frogtown

I met Rick Bragg, briefly, when he came to PC to promote Ava's Man, his ode to the grandfather he never knew. I got him to sign my journal (it's a thing I do), and he took the opportunity to leaf through it and show a sketch to others in the line. It was funny, too, because we had to wait while some of his kin dressed him down after his reading. They broke to the front of the line to tell him how it wasn't right, those things he wrote in his book about Cousin So-and-so. They had driven all the way into Panama to tell him to his face. He laughed and said, "Well, you know how she is. I just told it how she is." And they seemed to cool down, and agreed as to how that's just how she is, but that still don't make it right.

Anyway. His latest is about fathers and sons. I found it in hardback at the thrift shop today for $2.50. Having read his earlier efforts, I'm sure this one will satisfy too. I'll let you know. It's Today's Pick:

Today's Word: Kin.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday someday

Today's Pick: I picked up some random comics from the discount bin Saturday, but on the way out I saw this:

(With a different cover), it's titled "The End of the Beginning of the End, Part 1: Return of the King." And its frelling Farscape, which was my favorite show when it was on the air. Story of John Chrichton, astronaut, propelled through a wormhole to a distant galaxy, where he had to fight to survive among some strange creatures in the depths of space. Brilliant, cheesey, beautiful, violent, scary, poetic, suspenseful, funny. Cancelled too soon. And I got to interview one of the stars last summer at a local con:

Today's Word: Frell

Say G'night, Chiana.


Friday, March 27, 2009


Today begins our Spring Break "staycation." So what did we do tonight? Nathan went to hear some bands. Jessi went to spend the night at a friend's house. Debra and I had Chinese, washed the dogs and watched TV. Gosh, I wonder what other wonders we'll share before the week is out?

Meanwhile, I finally got around to reading Today's Pick, which I bought more than week ago:

Part of DC's line of "All-Star" books, this is the Superman series that's not so weighed down in continuity and taps into the wonder of the old stories with a modern sensibility. It's what the next Superman movie should be based on -- no need for an origin story, lets just see Superman dive into the sun to save explorers aboard the SS Ray Bradbury, or fight evolved dino-warriors from the earth's core, or give Lois Lane superpowers for a day, or visit Lex Luthor in prison as Clark and avoid giving away his secret ID during a riot, or see him fight the "Chronovore" alongside his descendents from the future who have come to visit him on one of the darkest days of his life.


Today's Word: Chronos.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Have you seen what I've seen?

Yahoo has put out a list of the 100 must-see movies. I've seen 64 of them, which I suppose gives me something more to live for than I knew I had yesterday. How many have you seen? Is one missing that you think should be on there?

I mean, Buckaroo Banzai isn't on the list. Or Barbarella.

Today's Word: Complete.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Unexpected gifts

So Friday was not the best day ever at work, for reasons that I'm not sure I'm at liberty to discuss. Suffice to say, the recession is taking its toll.

And in the wake of bad news, a friend I haven't seen or heard from in ages shows up at the front desk with a present for me. Seems she won it from Borders, had no idea what it was, decided it was not appropriate for her little boys, and set it aside. Then she read the author's name in my blog, learned I was a fan, and brought it to me. It's Today's Pick:

Thanks, Shirley. Again, I'm just flabbergasted. That's an awesome present.

Product Description: THE SANDMAN, written by New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman, was the most acclaimed comic book title of the 1990s. A rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama and legend are seamlessly interwoven, THE SANDMAN is also widely considered one of the most original and artistically ambitious series of the modern age. By the time it concluded in 1996, it had made significant contributions to the artistic maturity of comic books and become a pop culture phenomenon in its own right.

Now, DC Comics is proud to present this comics classic in an all-new Absolute Edition format. The first of four beautifully designed slipcased volumes, THE ABSOLUTE SANDMAN VOL. 1 collects issues 1-20 of The Sandman and features completely new coloring, approved by the author, on the first 18 issues, as well as a host of never-before-seen extra material, including the complete original Sandman Proposal, a gallery of character designs from Gaiman and the artists who originated the look of the Sandman, and the original script to the World Fantasy Award-winning THE SANDMAN #19, "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," together with reproductions of the issue’s original pencils by Charles Vess. Also included are a new introduction by DC’s president Paul Levitz and a new afterword by Gaiman.

Today's Word: Endless.


Friday, March 20, 2009

'Whattaya hear, Starbuck?'

"Nothin' but the rain, sir."

Well, it wasn't perfect, and it didn't answer all the questions, and it left some new mysteries. But it was awfully well done, and I have to say I'm better pleased by it than many many other series finales. And it brought our long suffering heroes to a place of peace on earth.


"Then get your gun and bring in the cat."


I will miss some of these characters. I will wonder what happened to them. And that's probably the best way to end a story, with your viewers/readers wanting more and actively engaged in imagining their futures or trying to figure out the meaning of what they just experienced. (And just why God doesn't like its name.)




Today's pick: Battlestar Galactica, series finale. And in that vein, this song.

Say G'night, Starbuck.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sic transit gloria mundi

Today's Word: Transient.
Today's Story: Life's the Same.
Today's Pick: The Time Traveler's Wife.

Soon to be a major motion picture. Read it now.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Two's Day

I don't now what that means up there. Just seemed funny at the moment.

Spent part of the evening watching Today's Pick:

When it comes to Lennon, I'm a pushover, of course. Watching this brought me back in time to that December morning when I got up to get ready for school and turned on the radio like every morning, and they were playing "Imagine." I thought it was odd, even then, because Lennon had a new album out and they were playing the new songs these days. And when it was over, the announcer came on and told us he was dead.

I cried. I was 16. What can I say? And maybe you still wonder why I sign off the way I do?

Anyway, tonight, watching the scene after his death, when Central Park was filled by thousands of mourners and they were singing "All You Need is Love," well, I cried again. Sue me. I'm 44, four years older than he was when he died, and for a minute there I was 16 again.

You should see this film. You should get what he was really about.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Back on Track

Monday Monday, can't stop that day.

Go here to view "Reset," a 3-minute short film I told you about a couple weeks back. Go here to vote for it in the international film contest where its creators have entered it.

Today's Pick:

The "Tales of the Nightside" novels by Simon R. Green. I just picked up the latest at the library, though I own most of the series. They're very good. Snarky private detective meets every weird thing imaginable (and many things unimaginable) in part of London where it's always 3 a.m. and gods, spirits, fallen angels and time travelers walk the streets.

Today's Word: AI, also AI, also AI


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Not yet home

A day of travel, of yard work, of visitation. A cemetery in the pouring rain. Back to the regular day-in day-out tomorrow.

See you then.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday the 13th (again)

Just a short note, as I'm borrowing my mom's computer tonight. We're on our way to visit a relative who's in the hospital tomorrow, and mom's house is our stopover. I'll be back on the grid Sunday when I get home. Then I'll load you up on content, promise.

Till then.

Peace, love and pancakes.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Checking in ...

... and checking out. Took an evening away from the ongoing plumbing project, but also took an evening away from everything else. Slept a while. About to sleep some more. We'll catch up with each other more tomorrow, and I'll bring the word, the pick, the story, and maybe some fun links too.


Monday, March 09, 2009

no end in sight

I'm tossing this out just to say I did, as the weekend from heck is lingering into my week. I spent all afternoon and evening working on the same bit of plumbing. I will be working on it again tomorrow unless we call a plumber. Til then, writing is a luxury I don't have time for.

Wish us all luck.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Glad THAT weekend is over ...

Jeez. I have a burn on my left thumb from molten solder, a cut on my right thumb from sharp copper pipe, scrapes all over my knuckles ... and still no working tub in the master bathroom. Even after I cut the outside wall off the house to get access to the stupid pipes! (and discovered that, oh, the fact there was no insulation in the wall must explain why it gets so cold in the bathroom in the winter).

Today's Word: isn't polite to say or write down. And I said it more than a few times this weekend. Let's have a contest: Guess what today's word is, and I'll send you a prize. First correct answer wins.

And NO, I didn't get to see Watchmen yet.


Friday, March 06, 2009

Friday Fest

Went downtown tonight to the opening of Christon Anderson's show at the Gallery Above. Ran into Michael and Matty and got a hug from Heather. Here's a video profile of Christon I made for newsherald.com:

Then we went for a walk in the Friday Fest crowd and after to Paulette Perlman's place for her "Do I look Irish to you?" show. She'll be hosting Joy Boots painting parties on March 19 and 21, and we'll have a show and auction there in April. I'll give more details soon.

That's all for tonight. Visit some of the links for more info. And be sure to go to the blog if you're reading this on an email alert, or you're missing half the fun.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Geist in der Maschine

Today's Pick:

Watched an episode of this with Debra. Reminded me why this was a staple of the week's TV back in the day. But I never saw this particular episode before, and it ws trippy: Elizabeth raises trouble around the house on the days leading up to her 13th birthday because her anger draws a poltergeist into the house.

Yep. Say G'night Carol-Anne. And don't go into the light just yet.

Today's Word: Poltergeist? Already know that one? How about zeitgeist instead?

Today's Story: Part 1 of what will be a three-part short story.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Well played, sir

So once again, my friend sees through my bull and says the one thing that cuts to the core of things for me:

"Why aren't you working on your novel?"

Well played, indeed.

I've distracted myself with other things, I answered. And that's true. But in the last year, it has also been difficult to think too far in the future, much less to pour real effort into a long-term project. (Yes, I realize my 366 Days project is "long term," but in many ways it's also just short bursts and has become more random and infrequent in recent weeks, as various personal anniversaries have approached and lingered and refused to pass.)

It's why, I think, I've been reading lots of graphic novels instead of "real" books. Why I've been watching random TV most nights.

But those are just excuses, yes? I'm supposed to be working on a novel. It's what I do. Who I am.

It's funny, but I get this odd restlessness. I can feel something bubbling in my subconscious, seeking escape. Sometimes this results in me building assemblages or doing paintings. Sometimes I get the old sketchbook back out. Sometimes, it results in stories.

I think I'm feeling a novel coming on. It's like that ache you get a few days before the flu sets in. Or the aura experienced in advance of a seizure. Or the smell of rain in the air before the summer storm hits.

There's an invisible world just out of my reach, names on the tip of my tongue, characters like featureless mannequins beginning to acquire definition in my mind's eye, like images from a dream that's fading, or a recurring nightmare that's beginning to coalesce into the physical realm.

I feel it out there, coming closer.

And when it hits, you'll be the second to know.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Quick one

Word: Hegemony.

Pick: Star Crash. (This one's for SBC.) The worst sci-fi movie I've ever seen. And that's saying quite a bit. Enemy spaceship shaped like a claw that makes a fist when under attack. Robot with a bad Southern drawl. Heroine (Stella Starr) who wishes she was Barbarella. David Hasselhoff as the prince of the universe. Soldiers fired in hollow torpedoes to board the enemy starship by crashing through the windows. And that's just off the top of my head. There's more idiocy in every minute of this than should be possible, even in an infinite universe.

And just because I'm amused, here's Episode 2 of "Angel of Death"

Say g'night, Stella.


Monday, March 02, 2009

Angel of Death

Want something for free? How about a web TV series about a female assassin, written by one of the top comic writers, starring some of the genre fans' favorites: Lucy Lawless (is not the anti-heroine of the title), Ted Raimi, and DOUG FREAKIN' JONES (without makeup!) join Zoe Bell (as Eve, who starts out strong and ends up with six inches of steel in her skull -- and that's just the first episode).

Angel of Death is an HD, high quality production that is posting an episode every day for the next 10 days. At the site, there are also photo galleries, the backstory of Eve, behind the scenes videos and more. You should really check it out.

No doubt, it will be out on DVD soon, but why pay for something you can see for the next week and a half for free? Here's the first episode:

And when you've finished this, take a gander at some of Brubaker's best work: Today's (other) Pick(s):

Debra brought me this one when I was in the hospital last January. Gritty real-world suspense and espionage in the form of a superhero comic.

This one I actually found at an area Good Will store. Daredevil has been a hot character since Frank Miller's run in the 1980s, but only because writers like Brubaker have continually brought him back to his back-alley, hard-fighting roots.

Today's Word: Noir.


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Back. D'j'u miss me?

Missed a day yesterday, attributable only to being too tired. Sometimes the lack of sleep catches up. Such was yesterday.

We saw the boy off early. I was driving his car from closed convenience store to closed convenience store at 5:30 a.m. until I found one open where I could air up his tires before he traveled to Pensacola. It was open house day, and he was auditioning for a scholarship in the drama program. (Initial reports are that he nailed it.) But even with all that extra time, I managed to miss an entry here and at my storytelling blog site, PCityLive.com

So, to make up, twice the picks and words tonight. And lots of bonus links!

Yesterday's Pick: Challengers of the Unknown.

I picked this up at a local comic shop that was having a clearance sale. Howard Chaykin has been a fave of mine since I first recognized his style in the Atlas line of comics ("Scorpion," which he renamed at Marvel as "Dominic Fortune.") In the 1980s, he created the groundbreaking satire/adventure "American Flagg."

Yesterday's Word: Sleeper.

Today's Pick: The Dresden Files.

I first saw the pilot movie for the sci-fi channel series, then borrowed the novels one at a time from the library. Then saw the short-lived series. Now there's a graphic novel prequel to the novels. All of which take liberties with the storyline, but all of which are entertainment worth getting hold of, the tale of a wizard/private eye who advertises in the phone book and fights vampires, faeries, and other things that go bump. I got the DVD set last week while Mom and Uncle Joe were in town and we watched the premiere ep together.

Today's Word: Unseelie.