Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: September, 2005

Brief Notes

Hey! Ever thought about writing a novel but you kept putting it off for one reason or other? Do you know anyone who’s a writer? Or are you one of those crazy people who want to do it again? Then head on over to the National Novel Writing Month site. Sign ups begin tomorrow!

I am keeping a weblog on this year’s participation here so blabber about writing will be kept to a minimum on this one.

Meanwhile, I am making backups of all the comments on this site. I tell ya’, it’s a pain in the neck. Next time, I’m going to do regular backups of the stuff every month. Stay tuned–I’ll probably get another commenting system up in the next couple of days.

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The Thursday Threesome: Little Lost Sheep

Onesome: Little– by little we work our way through the week. Do you have anything fun coming up this weekend or in the next week? …or maybe you’re ready for a little relaxation?

No.

Twosome: Lost– Do you get lost easily? …or are you one of those people who always seems to know where they are?

It depends. If the place is laid out in a logical manner, I could probably get myself to the destination. If it’s a hodge podge of this and that, maybe not.

Threesome: Sheep– …and goats and rabbits and, and, and: What is the favorite critter you look forward to seeing at the petting zoo (if you’re a fair goer)? …and if not, well, which one would just as soon not run across on a walk around the block? I mean, if you were the type who walked around the block and the farm animals escaped from Farmer John’s truck on his way to the Fair…

No tarantulas please.

An Opinion on Body Art

So I’m thinking about reading a dark fantasy book, but I’m waffling due to the size of the thing. And what do I do? Visit the author’s website and find that fans actually mail her pictures of their tattoos inspired by her novels. Sort of creepy. And before anyone else mentions it–yes, it’s just as creepy when someone tattoos Elvish on their arms. (And yes, it was made up by a dead linguist, but geez, it was made-up.) It’s not really the tattooing that gets me–after all, people can do whatever they want with their bodies–but the branding. It’s the equivalent of branding yourself with someone else’s name, as if you no longer belong to yourself, like a cow seared with some ranch hand’s mark.

Of course, nowadays there’s laser surgery and tattoos may just as well be another form of costuming. Like wearing a t-shirt with some corporate logo. But at least that’s less painful.

And the Lamprey-Monster Ate Him

I’ve been taking allergy medicine for the past couple of days. It hasn’t really helped my running nose all that much. The only difference I can see are the intense nightmares I keep getting every night. Must be the antihistamines.

More Spec Fic

Count Zero by William Gibson. Okay. So the only other Gibson book I’ve read was Idoru which was interesting, abet raw, so I was not expecting very much from the cyberpunk king (I don’t expect very much from cyberpunk in general–the entire genre doesn’t seem so fresh, so ’80s, ya’ know?) but I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed this one. The novel starts with three main storylines featuring Turner the corporate mercenary sent on a mission recover the creator of the biochip, Bobby Newmark the young hacker who runs for his life when a new icebreaker backfires on him, and Marly Krushkova the former gallery owner with a tarnished reputation who ends up working for the enigmatic Joseph Virek. The three parts merge into a stunning finale located in the futuristic yet gritty metropolis called the Sprawl. There’s plenty of action and twisting plots to keep any reader hopping and happy. Too bad I didn’t realize that this was the second novel in a trilogy (the first is Neuromancer, which I’m currently reading).

Sex, Lies, And Vampires by Katie MacAlister. I think this is one of those novels where a reader would either laugh at or despise. As a parody of all those romantic vampire novels currently glutting the market, it’s light and not very serious. The ditzy heroine, Nell Harris, is a professor of medieval history who travels to the Czech Republic to get her hands on a piece of fourteenth century armor but ends up recruited into a mission to help save her client’s nephew from the demon lord Asmodeus. When Nell stumbles into the appropriately dark and brooding Adrian the Betrayer who insists on being called a Dark One instead of vampire, hijinks ensue–imp squishing, visiting poltergeist bordellos, raising mummies. Funny, yet with a climax that will leave you rolling your eyes.

* * *
Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Crave:: In
  2. Whole package:: Wrapped
  3. Roommates:: Two
  4. 5:30:: PM
  5. Lesbian:: Gay
  6. Poignant:: Story
  7. Hurtful:: Words
  8. You and I:: We
  9. Grateful:: Dead
  10. Giggle:: Fest

Ha!

It’s not fair. People who’ve been blogging for about three months are called Blog Queens. Of course, these people are famous for reasons other than blogging, but that does not mean that they’re immediately expert bloggers. But if a three month old blogger is a “blog queen”, then what about a six month blogger? A year blogger? A decade blogger?

Should Have Been Yesterday’s

It really sucks getting stuck behind a truck going 15 mph on a one-lane road.

* * *
The Thursday Threesome: Gunning Down Romance

Onesome – Gunning – What is it that you have been gunning for lately?

Er, getting through the next day?

Twosome – Down – What brings you down?

A lot of things.

Threesome – Romance – What’s the most romantic movie scene you can recall? Are there any scenes that get your heart-a-fluttering?

You know, that’s the funny thing. I’m fine with reading about romance, but I really don’t like watching romance in a movie or TV show or whatever. It’s sort of like “Ew! Gross! Get a room!”–you know, like forced voyeurism.

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Less filling:: Pie
  2. Glue:: Gun
  3. Surprise me:: Not
  4. Model:: T
  5. Fee:: Check
  6. Microphone:: Amplifier
  7. Choices:: Made
  8. To the bone:: Ground
  9. Run!:: Off
  10. Appeal:: Repeal

Non-Fiction: Microbes and Rodents

Dark Life by Michael Ray Taylor. A communications and theater arts professor, avid caver, and science journalist, Taylor originally set out to find “dark life” within the depths of the earth–microbes that flourish in the absence of sunlight. As he increasingly gets involved with scientists in the field, he not only discusses the microbes living in other out of the way places such as hot springs and deep sea vents but also the controversy surrounding the existence of nanobacteria and microfossils on the Martian meteorite ALH 84001. The science isn’t so esoteric that the casual reader can’t pick it up, but the main attraction to the narrative is the emphasis of the personalities involved–such as the quirky scientist trying to prove that travertine is the result of nanobacteria deposition and the undergraduate caught between the warring factions arguing for and against life on the Martian meteorite.

Rats by Robert Sullivan. After finishing this intriguing nature narrative, I was, well, a bit disappointed. Sure, there are the odd facts and the author’s observation of city rat behavior in an alley that was located just a few blocks away from the World Trade Center, but the central point revolved around the human’s relationship with the rat and not the rats themselves. We see that author creeping about with night vision goggles and becoming almost paternal about the rats he observes eating out of trash bags and restaurant dumpsters and meeting a homeless man with a strange love-hate relationship with them. There’s quite a bit of history as well–particularly of New York’s exterminators and sanitation service. And at times, it is even scary–such as the rats jumping back to full health even after workers from the CDC pump the rodents with enough tranquilizers to kill a cat. These are definitely not lab rats–but one will have to admire these city pests’ adaptability.

Spec Fic: Coming of Age

The Book of Dark Days by Marcus Sedgwick. I admit, this was somewhat of an impulsive choice from the library–particularly since I have never heard of this author before–but sometimes, new finds can be quite serendipitous (the last male fantasy author I’ve encountered in similar circumstances was Garth Nix). What drew me to this book was the setting–during the last extra days of the year that didn’t fit neatly into the rest of the months–because I had used this plot device myself in a Nanowrimo novel. The Book of Dark Days takes place in a nameless European city where two orphans (Boy and Willow) accompany magician Valerian on his quest to find a book. Valerian believes the book will help save him from a demonic pact in which the deadline is at the end of the Dead Days. There are mysterious and dark scenes as Boy, Willow, and Valerian tramp through the decaying city–from a murder at the theater and a mortician animating bestial frankensteins to grave digging and underground canals. But the main questions are, just who is Boy and what is his role in the magician’s quest? The tone is dark for a young adult novel but while the characters themselves may seem a bit distant, it certainly isn’t lacking in any atmosphere.

A Fistful of Sky by Nina Kiriki Hoffman. Gypsum is the middle child of the extraordinary LaZelle family of Southern California. Unfortunately, where her brothers and sisters–not to mention her mother and other family members–are able to wield impressive magical talents, Gypsum failed to go through “Transition” when she hit adolescence and must content herself to being normal and magic-less like her father. But then at twenty while the rest of her family is on vacation, Gypsum undergoes a violent Transition and develops the dangerous talent for cursing. Things become hilariously funny as Gypsum tries to control her own powers, interact with her close-knit family, and prevent the curses from wreaking havoc with everything around her. Hoffman has written a lovely book which is not only about a young woman’s literal Transition but an emotional and maturing one as well.