Saturday, June 30, 2007

Hilarious Sidebar:

When I amble through a video store, I sometimes find myself taking a chance on a no-name, low-budget horror film. Don't ask me why. Lord knows I've been burned, bored out of my mind, and even just plain bizarroed right out of the world by some of the flicks I've picked up. But I've also been pleasantly surprised every now and then. Just look at Undead down there in the sidebar. Bizarre? Yes. Highly entertaining? Absolutely. Intended to be? Heh, probably not.

Then again, there was this one movie about...I trapped eternally in a corn field or some such. It looked like it was filmed by someone's camera phone. Seriously. And all the stuff that was supposed to build dramatic tension? Eye-rollingly hokey. Ho-hum. Don't even remember what it was called, it was so bad. One of the few -- I can count them all on one hand without using all the fingers -- movies that I've turned off before it was over. Yeah.

But tonight, I stopped by Ye Olde Video Shoppe to pick up a couple of flicks -- you know, Lady in the Water, Snakes on a Plane, the usual -- and I came across Heebie Jeebies.

How could I pass that up? I mean, spell it with a G instead of a J and it's my nickname, for cryin out loud.

Now, from the back copy, it looked lame. Pitifully so. But I figured it couldn't be worse than the corn field movie (or was it a hay maze? God, I can't even remember!), so I picked it up with the others and another called An American Haunting, which I haven't watched yet.

Okay, so it's not high art. It has its hokey moments. It has the obligatory jump-out-and-scare-yas. But it's also really funny. No, seriously. Funny as in intended to be funny.

That scene with Dev, the heretofore unknown twin brother, was damn near inspired. I laughed my ass off all the way through it, even as I half-ass rooted for the guy. Absolutely spot-on.

And, while I spent the first half hour or so wondering what the hell any of these flashbacks/dreams had to do with anything, it all really did come together in the end. Or just before it. Everything made sense. I still nearly fell out of the chair laughing, but it was the good kind of laughing. The truly amused and highly enjoying myself kind of laughing.

I dunno who came up with this flick, but hats off to them. Obviously very cheaply made -- and the CGI chaos gods...well...needed work -- but someone put a lot of thought into it. The actors gave it their best. And I think Jeff Lee might actually have a future in acting, even if he has to start out in B horror movies and work his way up to comedy. He's not terribly subtle, but not all roles require subtlety.

So no, not a great movie. But a damn good time, for all that. If you can stomach a lot of cheese with your evening's entertainment, might as well pick this one up. Worse comes to worst, you can always compare it to Wendigo, which -- I have on good authority, as I can't seem to find it anywhere around here -- is perhaps the worst movie ever made. If they still gave out Golden Turkeys -- and God bless and keep Ed Wood and his Plan 9 from Outer Space -- I think that clunker would have gotten one.

This one? Not even in the running. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dear Charlie:

It's a funny thing, this "writing" thing. I guess most of the time, my books start out with a single idea: wouldn't it be cool if...?

Sometimes, the cool thing relates to me personally. Wouldn't it be cool if I bumped into someone famous and didn't know it? Wouldn't it be cool if my beloved sister mortified me by...errrr...sorry. That's an actual plot. You know, the finished one. Heh.

Wouldn't it be cool if I owned and ran my own used book store?

So, I start writing a book about a woman who owns her own used book store. I add a dash of suspense -- a dead body crashing through her display window -- a slice of hunk -- a stone-faced assassin who offers to protect her in return for her being bait for the killer -- and a splash of cheese. No explanation necessary for that one. This is me we're talking about here.

I write, and I plot, and I add stuff I think is interesting. Twists and turns. The paranormal and the mundane. Religion and paganism. Numerology and poker. I try to make the character different from me -- because I'm boring -- without stepping away from what I know. Too far, anyway.

And then I catch myself wanting to own a used book store. I even thought up a cool name for it. Practically painted the damn sign. Ideas on decor and book arrangement. Promotional days. Sale signs, for God's sake!


Can't you just see it??

Now, unless I sold my house for half again as much as I paid for it (so I could pay off my student loans, too, and break even) -- which is actually possible, thanks to improvements my dad and I have made -- and then lived with relatives for a few years while I scrimped and saved every penny I could get my hands on...there's no chance in hell of me owning my own book store. Not only do I not have the start-up capital, but I also don't have any business experience, very little accounting experience, no contacts in the book-selling world, and no real sense of style beyond knowing what doesn't match and using that knowledge ruthlessly.

But it still sounds like such a cool idea.

No, my used book store won't show up in The Book. While it is an unusual used book store in its own right, the MC's shop is more a statement of her personality and a link to her past (and a plot device, of course) than a business venture.

Mine? Well, even though it's only fantasy, the atmosphere is quirky and amusing, and business is booming.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dear Charlie:

Okay, I'm convinced.

After reading 4 Darkyn novels in 3 days -- two days of which were plagued by a migraine so bad I didn't trust myself to drive -- I am firmly convinced that Lynn Viehl cannot possibly be real. She is simply entirely too cool to truly exist.

These are not your ordinary erotic romances. It's not your usual series. Sure, there are returning characters running around a new couple for each book, but...damn, how to explain....

Okay, it's like this: these books are not really about the couples. They're about the world. They're about the intrigue between what's good and what's evil and why there's never any absolute for either so long as humans are involved. They're about ancient, noble kings and gallant folk heroes crashing headlong into modern-day people just trying to make a buck, to stay a step ahead of the druggies and crazies, to make a difference in their own world without knowing what that means.

Without knowing about the Darkyn. Without knowing about the Brethren.

So yes, while each novel ostensibly revolves around a target couple, the books themselves simply continue to tell the story. They aren't just about sex and lovely people and a couple finding their way to happily-ever-after. They're about finding a cure for a disease long thought a holy taint. They're about reversing the damage wrought by time itself. They're about filling in the gaps of history with the truth...a truth untainted by the Light.

God, I could read a hundred of these novels and not know enough.

So many kudos on these books, O Fabulous Paperback Writer. I now have to search and devour the StarDoc series. Forgive me while I shove my nose into another nest of books.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Fabulous Sidebar:

Just watched Bubba Ho-tep. My God, why did I wait so long to see this??

I mean, sure, I had other stuff to do. Sure, I forgot it even existed a couple of times. But I adore Bruce Campbell. Love the man. Love horror movies. Love cheesy horror movies.

I even get a kick out of Elvis parodies.

So...why so long? I dunno. Truth is, it would've been longer if I hadn't been at Hastings yesterday looking for 3000 Miles to Graceland to buy used and just happened to see Bubba Ho-tep a few rows down. Unbelievable. Of course, I had to have it.

Luckily, I'd just donated plasma the night before and had the $15 to spare. Otherwise, I'd have SO missed out. This movie is hysterical, even when it's not.

Don't get me wrong. It has its serious moments. I mean, how do we really treat our old people? What do they really have to do once they're dumped into a retirement home? Is there anything for them but their illnesses and their rotting bodies and their fleeting wits as they watch the minutes and the hours and the days and the years and their lives pass them by? And how horrifying is that fate?

But to have even that taken away...yeah. Excellent basis for a horror film. If these movies are supposed to be about what we fear and cannot fight in real life -- death, usually -- then this film is a gem of its kind.

But it's also Bruce Campbell. As Elvis. As Elvis with penile cancer, if you'll believe it. Actually, it's Bruce Campbell playing Elvis playing the best Elvis impersonator ever playing Elvis.

Trust me. Makes sense if you watch.

It's funny. It's serious, but it doesn't take itself seriously. There are these little moments, like when Elvis is trying to totter down a steep incline with his walker -- he'd busted his hip impersonating himself about twenty years before -- that are completely Bruce Campbell. Those moments are his face, his acting, his riot of a nature.

But there are others that are the movie. I mean, who sucks soul out of the ol' tail pipe? Who draws Egyptian graffiti -- some of it on the lines of "Cleopatra puts out" -- on the visitor's bathroom wall because he's bored shitting out soul residue? And who, by all that is holy, puts in hieroglyphics that spell out "Eat the dog dick off Anubis, you asswipe!", all in little pictures that actually are eating and a dog and...well, you get the idea. The "asswipe" was two pictures, actually: a guy bending over and an upraised hand.

God, I love this movie. Unbelievable. It definitely goes on my "watch a hundred times" shelf. Right up there with the Evil Dead trilogy and the Indiana Jones movies.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dear Charlie:

Rare at-work post:

Well, monsoon season has struck the middle of the country, and I find myself with a win/lose kind of day. Everything is plus/minus. Allow me to demonstrate.

PLUS: The rain (and many closed streets) has kept most of the clients away, so I've been able to do a lot of miscellaneous filing that I've put off from more busy days.

MINUS: I'm not terribly sure I'll be able to go home tonight. Lots of streets between here and there are closed because of flooding.

PLUS: I love the drum of rain on the roof. So relaxing. So...meditative.

MINUS: That roof at home -- you know, the one I just had fixed? -- is leaking. Not so meditative.

PLUS: It's cool to watch the rain drift and pool in the parking lot.

MINUS: There are 4-inch deep puddles between me and my car...and I'm wearing tennis shoes.

You get the idea. It's fun, though, so I'm not complaining. Of course, it's not so fun for some who are stranded or for those whose ceilings have caved in, etc. For all I know, I'm one of the latter, but since I'm not sure I'll get home tonight, I'm not sure it'll matter. Heh.

Anyway, what I wish I could be doing right now is sitting on my porch swing, rocking lazily and watching the rain. Relaxing. Meditative.

But since I'm at work, I'm gonna try not to fall asleep.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Dear Charlie:

So...I've been busy.

It may not seem like I've been especially busy, but I have been busting my butt, and I have let it keep me from stuff I usually don't let my life affect. Like, ya know, blogging.

But since I'm baking a double batch of cookies to take to work tomorrow because people there are prowling around like fighting cats ready to explode -- I think it's the heat, but I can't be sure -- I figured I'd take some time between cookie sheets to catch up.



Okay. That oughtta do it. I'm seriously doing nothing new. Except hand-stitching a denim messenger bag -- without a pattern, sadly -- because I can't find one I like to buy because they all look like over-sized purses. And writing on a new book (though I haven't hard-edited the one I finished; still letting it simmer so I can get a fresh perspective on it for the edits).

And training the new secretary at work. Yeah. Another new one. It's really only 5 since I've been there, but it's the 8th person who's sat at that desk, what with all the fill-ins and floats who have tried to batten down the hatches. Hope this one works out.

It would make my job a helluva lot easier. Oi.

Anyway. Yeah. That's all I got.

Except for this. Enjoy at your own risk. I laughed so hard a couple of times that I nearly choked on my dinner. The "You may pass. And I apologize for my earlier rudeness" panel just about killed me.