Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

I'm hunting for Butterfingers tonight! Quick Halloween Joke: Bed sheets An extremely modest man was in the hospital for a series of tests, the last of which had left his bodily systems extremely upset. Upon making several false alarm trips to the bathroom, he decided the latest episode was another and stayed put. He suddenly filled his bed with diarrhea and was embarrassed beyond his ability to remain rational. In a complete loss of composure he jumped out of bed, gathered up the bed sheets, and threw them out the hospital window. A drunk was walking by the hospital when the sheets landed on him. He started yelling, cursing, and swinging his arms violently trying to get the unknown things off, and ended up with the soiled sheets in a tangled pile at his feet. As the drunk stood there, unsteady on his feet, staring down at the sheets, a hospital security guard, (barely containing his (laughter), and who had watched the whole incident, walked up and asked, 'What the heck is going on here?' The drunk, still staring down replied: 'I think I just beat the sh*t out of a ghost.' and with that I say ...... Happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Furry Friends

I don't know about anyone else, but I tend to bring my real life into my blogging. A lot of times the posts I write are a reflection of what's going on around me. This week it's all about my cat. Yes. My cat. The dumb jerk was hit by a car the other day. Okay. He wasn't a jerk. But I'm feeling a bit put out about the whole thing. We had to put him outside because he decided that the litter box was for wimps and he preferred my bath-mats. Well, maybe he was a jerk. But I still miss the old fart and I'm feeling a little guilty about the fact that he wouldn't have been hit had he been living in the house. Granted, I didn't throw him in front of the car, but still... Anyway. The thing that's been standing out to me this week is how much our pets affect our lives in ways we don't even realize. For example, I always had to hit my garage door opener twice when I came home because my cat always tripped the child-safety sensor as he'd run into the garage. Usually I'd get a little grumpy about that but this week I miss it. I'm getting maudlin. So naturally I've begun to reflect on animals and how often they appear in our favorite entertainment. It's actually pretty interesting when you think about it. Most people love animals and the characters you see on the screen, from Lassie to Flipper, are pretty happy and sunny. Then there's Stephen King. What kind of childhood do you suppose this guy had? Not surprisingly, when I was thinking of animals in film, especially a fantasy/sci-fi context, I thought of "Pet Semetary." Yeah. Happy thoughts. Cat gets hit by car, buried in an Indian burial ground and resurrected as a horrible shadow of its formal self. Child then gets killed-- repeat cycle. Thank goodness this stuff doesn't happen in real life. At least I hope not. If "Pet Semetary" was the only book or movie by Stephen King to feature a crazy animal I might not think too much about it. But then there's "Cujo." A happy tale about the family dog getting rabies and trapping a woman and a child in a car for three days. "Cujo" makes "Old Yeller" look like it has a happy ending. And then on the complete opposite end of the spectrum you have Dean Koontz. I don't know if his childhood was any happier than King's (word is it wasn't) but Koontz must've had a furry friend to help him through the tough times. The first book I ever read by Koontz was "Watchers." I haven't read that one in awhile but I remember liking the book. The animal in "Watchers" is a golden retriever, a breed that Koontz puts in a lot of his books and is frequently pictured with on the back cover. Einstein, the golden retriever, is a product of a government experiment and possesses human-like intelligence. Einstein isn't fully anthropomorphized, but he is certainly idealized-- not that there's anything wrong with that. Koontz recently brought back the golden retriever as an example of all that is right in the world with "The Darkest Evening of the Year." That particular book was way too saccharine for my taste, but I guess you have to appreciate the sentiment. Yeah, there's nothing like animals to tug on the heart-strings is there? I haven't watched "Old Yeller" since I was a kid because that movie is guaranteed to make you cry. Thank goodness my son prefers "Garfield" and "Underdog," those hardly make me mist up at all. Stupid cat.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Giveaway! 3 Sets! Legend of the Seeker Hat and T-shirt! Contest Closed!

***CONTEST NOW CLOSED*** Wow. Has this been the week for giveaways for me. I'm not sure why I'm getting everything all at once- but then, I'm not one to question good fortune. As part of the promotion to launch the new TV series Legend of the Seeker, based on the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind, I have been given the opportunity to pass on three sets of T-shirts and hats with the "Legend of the Seeker" logo on them to a few lucky winners. If you're wondering what "Legend of the Seeker" is all about, here's a trailer to get you up to speed. Look good? If so, just leave a comment here or send me an email at sqt1969(at)gmail(dot)com under the header "Seeker" to enter. I'm going to make this a fairly short contest and pick the winners on November 1st since that is the date the show premiers. Be sure I can reach you easily. If I cannot reach you within 48 hours I will pass the prizes onto another entrant. Open to U.S. entries only. And if you want to geek out some more on "Legend of the Seeker," here are a couple of interviews with the actors who play the main characters. Bridget Regan (Kahlan Amnell) Bruce Spence (Wizard Zedd) Craig Horner (Richard Cypher) Good luck!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Giveaway! The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks Contest Closed!

Finally, it's here! Ever since I did my review of The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks I have been wanting to offer a copy for giveaway. I rarely ask specifically for books from publishers because I am so lucky to get more than I can handle as it is. But this book was so enjoyable that I asked Orbit Books for an extra copy and it just arrived. Book Description: For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city’s most accomplished artist. For Kyllar Stern, survival is essential. As a guild rat, he’s learned to judge people quickly-and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint. But to be accepted, he must turn his back on everything he has ever known. The perfect killer has no friends. He only has targets. Sounds good doesn't it? To enter, either leave a comment here or email me at sqt1969(at)gmail(dot)com under the header "Shadows" and I will randomly pick a winner by Monday November 10th. Be sure I can get a hold of you easily. If I cannot reach the winner within 48 hours I will pass the book onto another entrant. Open to everyone. Good luck!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Little Halloween Tale

There has been a lot of Halloween flash fiction going around these days--horror fiction-- and I thought I'd try my hand at it. The season had arrived when the weather turned chill and moods darkened to match the gray skies. It seemed that the tumultuous storms overhead matched the mood of the people who viewed the lightning strikes just ahead of the thunder. Above the tumult voices boomed; offering promises of peace and prosperity. Election season was near. But it seemed the Gods were not happy. The skies didn't clear. Rather they kept roiling in anger and the lightning grew more fierce and the crash of thunder seemed to never end. The Gods hoped to overpower the booming voices but it was in vain. The ego of man could not be reined in. The Gods decided mankind should be punished for their sins. After all, no man could hope to replace a god; but the promises the candidates made were so grand that humility seemed beyond reach. The masses too enraptured to care. So the angry skies spread and enveloped the land; stopping time and preventing the sun from meeting the horizon. Mankind would have to live in arrogance forever; listening to the same rhetoric over and over until they went mad from the torment. Election day would never arrive. The End. **Shudder** Tell the truth. That scared you more than anything you ever read by Stephen King. Didn't it?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Man's Greatest Obsession

Sigmund Freud once opined that little girls, in the course of their development, took a gander at the different packaging of little boys and decided I want one of those... What a bunch of hooey. Of course I don't have a background that allows me clinically describe Freud's theories as complete nonsense, but I do possess the power of observation and I have come to the conclusion that men are simply obsessed with their reproductive equipment. I also believe that the obsession leads them to conclude that everyone else (namely women) must envy the object of such fascination and want one for their very own. Don't deny it men. I don't know a guy who hasn't tried to convince us women (and perhaps other men) that their little partner doesn't deserve a name like Conan or Thor (though no one every seems to pick Pee Wee). And one only has to take a look at common architecture to see a certain shape appear all too frequently. I do not believe this is a coincidence. And if you think I'm reading a bit too much into the size and shape of a structure like the Washington Monument, then perhaps you should take a gander at this page, which features some rather interesting images from Pompei (the city buried by a volcano in 79 AD). The ancient Romans were not particularly modest and were very public with their particular appetites. Why do I bring this up? Because I watched You Don't Mess With the Zohan the other night and I doubt that if you even combined Elvis with Ricky Martin would you get a man who delivered more pelvic thrusts. I mean, the man was jerking his hips all over the place. He caught fish in his butt crack for crying out loud. I admit I was disappointed by the movie. I had read a review that led me to believe that it was funny so I was hoping for a "Wedding Singer" but got stuck with something that made "The Waterboy" look good. Oh well. With Adam Sandler it's a crapshoot at best. But the quality of the movie isn't really the point of my post. During the course of this endless film I found myself reflecting on all the movies (not pornos btw) I have watched that seem to take their inspiration from the little soldier that men love so much. Take "Austin Powers" for example. I would mention a particular movie in the series, but really, they're all a big blur. I'm embarrassed to say I've seen them all. The idea behind the Austin Power's movies is that they're a spoof of James Bond. I get that-- as I'm sure everyone does. But Mike Meyers goes way beyond spoofing Bond movies and usually resorts to jokes about the family jewels in short order. I'm sure you all remember this: [Noticing Dr. Evil's ship on radar] Radar Operator: Colonel, you better have a look at this radar. Colonel: What is it, son? Radar Operator: I don't know, sir, but it looks like a giant... Jet Pilot: Dick. Dick, take a look out of starboard. Co-Pilot: Oh my God, it looks like a huge... Bird-Watching Woman: Pecker. Bird-Watching Man: [raising binoculars] Ooh, Where? Bird-Watching Woman: Over there. What sort of bird is that? Wait, it's not a woodpecker, it looks like someone's... Army Sergeant: Privates. We have reports of an unidentified flying object. It has a long, smooth shaft, complete with... Baseball Umpire: Two balls. [looking up from game] Baseball Umpire: What is that. It looks just like an enormous... Chinese Teacher: Wang. pay attention. Wang: I was distracted by that giant flying... Musician: Willie. Willie: Yeah? Musician: What's that? Willie: [squints] Well, that looks like a huge... Colonel: Johnson. Radar Operator: Yes, sir? Colonel: Get on the horn to British Intelligence and let them know about this. I admit, this joke was funny the first time, but by the time Meyers came out with "Goldmember," a movie actually named after his favorite body part, I pretty much lost interest. And Mike Meyers isn't the only movie maker besides Adam Sandler who has let his preoccupation with his privates run rampant. Judd Apatow, known for "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked-Up" has joined the party. HOLLYWOOD - Knocked Up director Judd Apatow is on a mission to put penises in every movie he makes--and end America's fear of male members. The filmmaker placed a penis behind actor John C. Reilly's head in an orgy scene in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and watched as audience members stormed out of a test screening in disgust. Undeterred, Apatow kept the penis footage in the film--and then made a "c**kumentary" about shooting the scene, which will appear on the DVD. He says, "The original shot was way longer, where the penis is in close-up, and then one night we showed it to a test audience and 22 people walked out. I think we went too far with too much penis. "We went with different angles to make sure there weren't too much testicles being shown... America fears the penis and that's something I'm going to help them get over. "I'm gonna get a penis in every movie I do from now on. When this writers strike ends, that is my dream. It really makes me laugh in this day and age, with how psychotic our world is, that anyone is troubled by seeing any part of the human body; that is amusing to me." COPYRIGHT 2007 WORLD ENTERTAINMENT NEWS NETWORK LTD. All Global Rights Reserved. Hmmmmm. I really don't understand all the interest. Oh sure. I get the fact that this particular preoccupation comes from the male sex drive. I'm not that dense. I think the success of each particular James Bond is in complete proportion to the virility of the man portraying him-- hence Daniel Craig's huge popularity, but that's a subject I'd like to develop further once the new Bond comes out. And I suspect that comedians like Meyers and Sandler are just being more obvious, and silly, when it comes to their humor. But my goodness, do they really think anyone other than teenage boys share their sense of humor? I guess it's just a guy thing. And at the end of the day I guess it is just that. Somehow the male sex drive infused itself into virtually every aspect of men's lives. We hear the statistics that say men think about sex every 54 seconds, though I can't image how anyone was able to nail the frequency down that specifically. But it doesn't matter. Beyond Freud and his theories about penis envy, psychologists and profilers say that violent attacks against women are often the result of a frustrate sex drive. We see men drive fast cars and wonder what is he compensating for? So I guess it's no shock that men will find ways to express their libido through entertainment-- I'm sure Hugh Hefner could write a whole dissertation on that subject. But as a woman, let me just throw this out. I'm not that interested in the male anatomy as a main topic of conversation. I do wonder what men are compensating for when they build their bodies into mountains of muscle and drive a Hummer. And I wonder why so many men-- comics in particular -- spend so much time fixated on their wee willies. Is there a little bit of compensating going on there too? Or do men secretly think that mockery is the appropriate way to deal with something that has such control over their lives? You have to admit, it's a curious phenomenon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Musings and Merges

Well, I guess it’s obvious that I needed some time off. I don’t know what did it, but a couple of weeks ago I just needed to take a break. Part of the issue had to do with the economic mess the country is in right now. My husband works for one of the companies that has been affected by the Wall Street meltdown and that has meant late nights at work for him which translates into less free time for me. I thought the majority of the drama was done with by the end of last week. At least it seemed like the market had hit its capitulation point (perhaps I jumped to that conclusion prematurely). But then it seems there is always some other drama ready to jump into the mix. I was ready by Sunday night to start a new post and get blogging again when my husband gets a phone call from a business associate. It was one of those slightly gossipy phone calls about a mutual acquaintance who was arrested last Friday (by the FBI no less!). And taken by itself that would be no big deal, but…. The guy is a client of my husband. That may not seem like a problem to most people but the thing is that my husband works in the finance industry and when his clients do nefarious deeds there is always the danger that they used ill gotten gains when they invest their money; which immediately sends my husband into oh s*** mode. For obvious reasons I can’t get into specifics. But let me just say this, the client is potentially involved in mortgage fraud and that is one heck of a hot potato issue right now. I think this guy is going to be in some big big trouble. Fortunately it doesn’t appear, so far, that my husband will end up in the cross-hairs of the investigation. My husband is very careful and doesn’t do anything sketchy in the course of doing business and I doubt we’ll hear anything about it other than what we see in the newspapers. But it’s scary, you know? The thing that makes me mad is that this guy appears to have done some very bad things with no regard to how it may affect anyone else. He has a wife and three kids, a business that employs (employed?) lots of people and people, like my husband, who did tangential business with him and may have to defend their reputation just because they knew the guy. Jerk. Anyway, that added a little bit of stress over the last few days. And I’ve already been musing over making some changes in my blogging habits. When I started to book reviews I had basically experimented with how I set that up. I had hoped that by creating a separate page for my book reviews I would be able to keep up a steady flow of posts by having contributors post reviews and doing giveaways. But it appears that I was overly optimistic. I mean no disrespect to my contributors, especially those who have regularly done reviews, but I’m afraid the number of books that get reviewed vs. the number of books I mail out to potential contributors has not been good. Probably 10-1. So I’m mailing out a lot of books, and paying a lot of shipping, for very little return. And it affects the relationship I have with the publishers who send me books. I mean, I wouldn’t keep sending me books if I didn’t see them end up as reviews either. So what to do? The first thing I think I need to do is reintegrate my book reviews with my main sci-fi site. I’m not getting enough reviews up to justify a separate site and I don’t have the time or the inclination to try to keep posting to two sites on a daily basis (or even an every-other-day basis). I have read several books over the last couple of weeks so I plan to put those reviews up on the review site before I do a merge just so I don’t overwhelm my main site with a bunch of reviews. But after that I’m going down to one sci-fi site and that’s it. I expect I’ll reduce the number of books I send out to contributor reviewers though I will still do giveaways —those will just be confined to one site. I’m also going to prioritize the books I review. I have many books sent to me directly from the author and those will be the first books to get reviews. After that I’ll just see where my mood takes me. But I’m going to dial down the review part of my posting and go back to what I enjoy most—musing about sci-fi and fantasy subjects. I was lucky enough to get an offer recently to contribute to a sci-fi magazine site and I’m interested to see where that goes. They’re going to use some posts I’ve already put up on my main site but the idea is that I will author other articles and reviews in the future. I doubt that will take too much time from regular blogging but I like the idea of doing something different now and then. Anyway. I hope you’ll bear with me while I change things up over the next week or so and don’t go too far away. I’m still here….