Friday, January 27, 2012

Movie Reviews!


The tagline for The Dead Outside is “Dying Is Easy.” This, of course, is the theme of every zombie flick, along with, “We’re our own worst enemies.” Both of these themes play a prominent role in The Dead Outside, and yet it examines them so seriously and sincerely that it doesn’t fall prey to the generic feeling that usually turns me off of zombie movies.

Popcorn is an odd duck, because in some ways it was behind the times, and in other ways, ahead of the times. Although it was made in 91, it feels very much like an 80s flick. But as a meta-horror film, it predates Wes Craven’s New Nightmare by three years.

Many times, in a movie, events need to be foreshadowed, or a character needs to learn something, and there’s no convenient way to have it happen. Unless you’re a good writer. But being a good writer isn’t convenient, either.

What’s convenient is having a character stumble over a copy of the Plot Point Picayune.

Parasomnia begins with a very interesting opening kill. A hoity-toity lady sits on a balcony overlooking an urban downtown. She receives a phone call, then chucks herself over the side.  The coolest aspect of this OK is the way the camera follows her all the way down, even bouncing off the concrete beside her. Here’s the first instance of the movie trying hard, but achieving something interesting.

Cut to a dude riding a bus. He has a flashback to childhood. Turns out later that the bus scene is a flashforward. So a flashfoward to a guy riding a bus having a flashback… Here’s the first instance of the film trying too hard.

This back and forth pattern continues throughout.



As I write my week's movie reviews, I watch the previous week's wrasslin', and take my
Weekly Wrasslin' Notes!

-I'd prefer that in the Bryan / Big Show feud that Big Show go heel, but turns out Bryan is going that way. It’s going to be fun watching him duck matches against the two biggest men in the WWE.

-I miss one week and Zack Ryder has lost his title to Jack Swagger!

-Ziggler and Cena are great opponents, with Cena's strength and Ziggler's ability to sell any move.

-Crowd sign: Y2J? Y2Say Something!

-Jericho finally spoke. Now we can all stop caring.

-Cena is giving in to the hate! Doesn't he see he's falling for Kane's evil machinations?

-Cowboy Storm is a joke. He's a bad Stone Cold impersonator. Bobby Roode is at least a good heel. Now that Beer Money's broken up, Cowboy needs to go away.

-I like Sting just fine. He's developed some mic skills. But I definitely prefer a heel general manager.

-Wow. I've never paid attention to Brutus Magnus's finisher, the MDD, a sitout scoop slam piledriver (basically a spinning, powerslam piledriver). Good lord that looks dangerous.

-The Knockout match was really good, cementing my opinion that Impact’s women wrestlers are better than WWE's.

-Austin Aries is as good a mic-man as he is a wrestler, and that's saying a lot. Can't believe WWE lets Impact dominate the high-flying scene with the X Division.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"The Latest Happenings" or "Hello, I'm Still Here"

I just hit 16,850 words on the novel I started on the 13th. That's 1/3rd of the way to the minimum word count of 50k. I think I like what I've been writing, but it's been like pulling teeth. I'm writing much slower than my usual 750 words per hour, and I've been doing a lot of thinking away from the keyboard as well. If I have a few good days, I'll hit the 25k halfway point early next week, and then I'll feel less anxious. Even though it logically shouldn't matter that much, it feels much easier to me to write on the downhill side of a book.

Now I'm going to go and write a few movie reviews for StreamingHorror.net. After missing a week, I'm going to try to get at least a MWF posting schedule going. I'm also working on revising last year's 50 reviews for Streaming Horror: The Complete 2011 Reviews. So far, I'm really enjoying reading over them.



Have you read my interview over at PennyDreadnought.com yet? Do so if you haven't. It's not your standard interview, as one would suspect once one learns that the interviewer is a man with no flesh upon his very face!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Haters Gonna Hate

I recently read an amazing article by Meghan Daum at The Believer examining the exploding phenomenon of the hater. It stuck with me, and I’ve been working it around in the back of my mind.

Then I read a blog post at a very popular and informative publishing blog by a woman who’s recently become a hater. Most haters only have the ability to comment and tear apart something else, but sometimes they create original content.

I remember the first time this blogger drank the haterade. Getting the same question from a bunch of thick-headed writer friends, she flipped and wrote an angry post. She seemed genuinely nervous about it. Then I’m guessing it got a ton of hits, and got a ton of positive feedback of the “Set ‘em straight give ‘em hell!” sort, because basically every post since has had a healthy dose of hate in it. Meaning, you do it her way or you’re an idiot and she wants to hit you.

Hey, I’ve hit people for a living (as a bouncer) and for fun (as a kickboxer). I have no problem with people who enjoy hitting people. But I can also identify them, and in this case it helped me spot a fake hater.

Likewise, I’m not against those who pose their opinion in very black-and-white fashion. My very favorite publishing industry blog is Nick Mamatas’, who seems to be unable to write an essay without every other sentence being flame bait. The fun part is watching him effortlessly back it all up such that most sane people don’t even attempt an argument with him.

But unless you’re particularly awesome with your aggressive stance, what happens isn’t that you convince more people. Instead, you invoke the response “Haters gonna hate.”

I liked this writer’s blog. It’s one of the most informative publishing industry blogs I’ve ever read, and I always thought she was a sharp shooter even before the silly ranting. Before the ranting, I took her opinions seriously. Now, I’m immediately set against the hostility. My wife has seen this tendency in me in public, and calls it “getting all puffy.” She regularly tells me not to get puffy when someone bumps into us or are otherwise rude.

So anyway, feeling antagonized, I go into a combative mindset. That’s fine, but I also become dismissive, because if one thing is constant, it’s that haters are gonna hate. They don’t need a valid reason, and you can’t spend your energy considering what they say or arguing with them, because it’s endless.

I mean, even death and taxes are avoidable if you’re rich enough. But no matter what, haters gonna hate.

I don’t remember where, but I recently read an analysis of how the “haters gonna hate” mentality can keep people from critically examining a valid opinion. But I’m not going to filter the sludge of hate to find the rare valuable opinion, so my takeaway from that is don’t be a hater if you want to transmit information. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you just want to rant and even piss people off. But if you want to convince people, other approaches might be better.




I’m gonna be CRAZY busy for the next bit. I’m hoping this blog and StreamingHorror.net don’t fall completely by the wayside for the next two months, but I can’t say for sure. So don’t count me out if you don’t hear from me!

Paper editions are out!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Movie Reviews!


Cut to a classic road trip intro, with a pack of attractive young college kids crammed into an SUV. Popped collars and long, tendril-y blond hair fill the frame, and frat chants fill the ears (“You’re either Omega Beta or a freak!”), when there’s a near wreck. At this point, I would normally assume they’d all died or gone into comas and the rest of the film, while resembling this reality, was really them facing their fates in the afterlife. However, I’d heard that Tucker & Dale vs. Evil was a good movie.

As a horror fan, you’re an idiot with the attention span of a squirrel on meth. At least, that’s the opinion of the major movie studios. And the indie movie studios. And everyone else.

The problem is that horror movies tend to start slowly.

It can’t be denied that there is something especially disturbing about portrayals of true crime. Some filmmakers rely solely upon that shock factor, though, and besides the subject matter, their films falls flat. Dear Mr. Gacy is a solid story portraying the way an intelligent sociopath works, and would be a good movie even if Mr. Gacy were a fictional character, which unfortunately isn’t the case.

Appetite is categorized under “Horror Movies” and “Supernatural Horror Movies”. It’s purportedly about a haunted hotel room. Given that, why have I let it sit in my queue for months? I must have sensed that Appetite isn’t really a horror movie. Ugh.



As I write my week's movie reviews, I watch the previous week's wrasslin', and take my
Weekly Wrasslin' Notes!

-Cody Rhodes / Booker T match was great. Love Book's reversals.

-Okay, little person wrestling is one thing, I guess, if that's what they want to do. Not my thing. But Hornswaggle can't wrestle, so why is this happening.

-Why is the WWE set on cramming Wade Barrett down our throats? He's not impressive.

-"Santino is a master of MMA, he was telling me earlier. 'Marella Martial Arts.'"

-I'm glad Kane is back. I think he's one of the only monsters who can speak and stay a monster. But they've got him talking WAY too much.

-All of Brodus Clay's promo was as a monster. Then he emerges as the somewhat effeminate "Funkosaurus". Wut?

-Jericho's non-talking schtick is the worst ever. First of all, he talks, he just won't talk into a mic. I can hear him shouting through the announcers' mics. That makes no sense. Secondly, it's boooooring. I hope WWE realized this as he struggled to get any reaction whatsoever out of the crowd, until he began to leave without speaking or wrestling, at which point he was booed.

-"Dolph Ziggler can say, 'I can beat John Cena standing on my head.'"

-I lurv Bully Ray, even more than when he was Bubba Dudley.

-Ric Flair is genuinely nuts.WHOOOOO!

-Taz in regards to Zema Ion: "I think I just saw his areola fly through the sky."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Proofs!


Got some proofs in the mail today. I haven't gone through them, but I'm just happy that the covers turned out, because I got error messages on both of them.

Why did I also include photos of unrelated TPBs? To show that the size I chose, 8 x 5.25" is the closest to actual TPB size. I wish Createspace offered 8.25 x 5.25 or 5.5, but they don't, and 8.5 is too tall. 8 x 5.25" is the only standard TPB size they offer (both of the above books are that size). A lot of people go with 9 x 6". That's hardcover size, so it looks weird unless it's like 700 pages. And why would you want your page count to be low? To make more money off paper sales? How many paper books do you sell versus e sales lost due to low page count? The only reason I made these is so that Amazon will replace their too-low estimate of Psychomancer and Blood Tells True, which I know is hurting my sales.

Everyone has their reasons, but 8 x 5.25" makes sense to me.

From what I heard, if you don't use Createspace (meaning if you go with Lightning Source), your page count doesn't get corrected. I don't know if that's true or not.

PS I got these after reading Helen Hanson's post, which explains how Createspace has repeatedly messed up the cover of her most recent effort, due to what I believe is the same error message I got. I got lucky.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Penny Dreadnought: Descartes' Demon



From the malignant minds of the Abominable Gentlemen come fearful tales of paralyzing epistemic doubt. What do you do when you turn a corner and you find yourself where you hadn't intended to go, and you turn back and find that what's behind you isn't where you came from? When nothing makes sense, do you doubt your own sanity, or the world’s?

You’ll find no easy answers within the following tales:

“Falling Over” by James Everington
“All the Pretty Yellow Flowers” by Aaron Polson
“Ice Age” by Iain Rowan
“A Face to Meet the Faces that You Meet” by Alan Ryker

Penny Dreadnought: Descartes' Demon is approximately 23,000 words.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Movie Reviews!


Credits roll. We discover that Proteus is based on a novel entitled Slimer.

Seriously? Slimer?


What does a novelist do when he needs to concentrate on his new novel? He finds a haunted house to hole up in. I swear that the haunted house subgenre of horror has its own sub-subgenre of authors seeking out haunted houses to use as writing retreats.

One of the most potent inducers of horror is the uncanny. Just look at some of the highest scoring movies here on StreamingHorror.net.  Movies like YellowBrickRoad and Antichrist tap into the sense of unease we all feel when logic collapses. This is the horror that Lovecraft gave us, the horror of the darkness between the stars and gods who crush you in passing rather than in malice (or even in-tentionally).

The uncanny is what Dawning aimed for, and what it missed. But I have to give them points for trying.

Phones have never worked in horror movies unless the killer needs them to work (usually to call and taunt the survivor girl). In the golden age, the killer needed only cut the line. Besides eliminating the possibility of backup arriving, this is also a great way to get people to leave the house or otherwise isolate themselves.

Then along came the mobile phone.

The old lady’s nephew is a skeptic, so he totally doesn’t care that his aunt is dead! Because “skeptic” means “total dick”.



Weekly Wrasslin’ Notes
-Why is Sheamus a face for celebrating his Irish heritage while Mahal is a heel for celebrating his Indian heritage? Oh yeah, because WWE is still racist as hell.

-They really need to split the talent between Smackdown and Raw. Travelling to two cities and wrestling twice a week is too much. If you want to know why wrestlers are always dying from pain killers and steroids, this is why.

-I miss Ric Flair chops. Sheamus' beating of the Miz on Raw reminded me of them.

-I am seriously underwhelmed by the ultimate reason for the creepy-kid promos. And it doesn't make sense. Jericho isn't a monster.

-I can't believe Kane tried to pull Zack Ryder down into Hell with him. So goofy. SO AWESOME!

-The pairing of Eric Young and ODB is the best tag team in wrestling today.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Gift of Curing Meats

Give a man beef jerky, and he'll eat cured meats for a day. 
Give a man a dehydrator and a jerky gun, and he'll eat cured meats until his joints scream with gout.

Within this dehydrator are two trays of classic beef jerky, and two trays of teriyaki chicken jerky. I'm working on my own recipes to try to reduce the amount of salt used. Since I'm actually curing the meat, I don't think my jerky requires as much salt as is traditionally used.

Good lord do I love jerky.

Thanks for the xmas present Mom and Dad!



I love this poem: Auspex.

It reads like the 300 year old translation of a  2,000 year old classic, but in trying to research it, I'm pretty sure it's not. I think Brian Kubarycz wrote it, but it's presented as if it's just another found bit. If anyone knows more about it, let me know.

Anyway, I love it.