Ninja Dog strikes again

Izzy is Ninja Dog (Fly is Houdini-Dog because she was here first and we still can’t figure out how she used to get out of her crate).

Izzy has been learning from The Master (Fly) and has managed to continuously break out of her crate. Once, she actually broke out of her crate and had it collapse while she was spazzing out around Hobbes’s crate while we were having dinner. But, this morning, I found her to be out of the crate and a giant mess in the Art/Dog room (“the Orange room” which used to be “art and Mander’s random crap but got turned into the dog room since the first dog room is too small to hold four dog crates in a row). She had busted out again, she ripped through pretty much the top layer of yarn and flung it everywhere. She stopped when she hit the alpaca yarn I have (because it smells like mothballs. The girl I got it from did warn me and offered to get rid of the smell, but I told her it was ok) and went for something else. She ripped up a little fold out Random Factoid sheet of Epicetus that I have no idea where it came from and found the Non-Toxic kiddie clay.

And chewed it all to hell.

The dog is going to be crapping rainbows. I took a deep breath, pushed her out of the room, and went to work. I’m still pretty amazed I didn’t step on the little piles of poo scattered strategically between the door and light switch (behind the door, which is very inconvenient sometimes). I had to peel kiddie-clay off the floor while the other three watched me, eventually Bug flipped over onto her back all excitedly. I love that Bugs is becoming a spazz (it only took almost a year and a half!) and it’s been really great seeing her open up more.

In reality, Izz-butt only pulled the pieces of clay apart from each other and flung them around. I think she had more fun smooshing them onto the floor than chewing on them (only 2 peices had teeth marks) and I picked up enough of it to account for what was left of the kiddie-clay we hadn’t used. Izzy also pulled Bug’s blanket halfway out of her crate again, but this time she didn’t pee on it so that’s a step in the right direction.

While cleaning up, I pulled out my little wire cutters and the pipe cleaners and got to work twist-tying the crate back together. It’s held up, which is great! And I’ve had to do it to the crate that our foster-dog (Leanna) is in because she decided to bust out and drool all over the floor. I thought I stepped in pee, but pee doesn’t make your feet stick to the floor after it’s cleaned up.

The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, part 3

The Bone Carver’s Tale – Jeff Vandermeer
A guy spends his time carving things out of bones that wash up on the beach near his home, which is made out of a dead whale. I found myself thinking of an episode of Ren and Stimpy (“Big Kahuna” I think) and continued on with the story. So, a young woman comes to meet him, she is the best something-or-other instrument player in the area and plays a song for him about love and all that cheesey stuff. Unfortunately, the bone carver does not find her attractive enough, tells her so, so she retaliates by stating he is ugly and doesn’t know anything.

The musician leaves and becomes even more famous for her woeful songs about broken hearts, she ends up being murdered during some sort of rebellion attack (when I read this, I thought of Star Wars). So, the guy doesn’t care until the moon begins to tell him over and over to go to the city where the musician died, so he succumbs and does so. The story was interesting and read more like something you’d find in a YA book of scary stories, like Tales for the Midnight Hour or Darkness Creeping, etc. It was much better than some of the other stories that I read in here.

Queen of Knives – Neil Gaiman
A weird, bizarre poem about a young man being taken to a magician’s show by his grandparents. The magician picks the grandmother to do a trick and makes her disappear, after the show, she never reappears and the magician pretends that he does not understand English and the grandfather is pretty much ruined. If you really like Gaiman’s work, this is awesome, but I thought it was really fucking weird.  Maybe it’s just me, I really don’t know.

The True History of Doctor Parnassus – Paul J McAuley
A journalist threatens his way into speaking with an old guy to find “the truth” about him. This is a…mindboggling boring fucking story. It’s just references to classic horror authors/characters that made it worth-while to read through. It was pretty awesome for the intensely obscure shout-out for Lovecraft. Though, the idea of the recreation of man-like creatures is always neat. But I think it would’ve done wonderfully if the author did more with the man-like creatures than brief mentionings.

The Grey Madonna – Graham Mastertron
A gentleman visits the town in which his wife was killed by a mysterious nun. He pays a couple hundred francs to the guy who gave a witness statement and finds that the locals have this bizarre belief that the statuary has the potential to come to “life” as it were and things will happen. The statues are made of hope, good and evil, and things just tend to happen.

The guy believes that the witness to his wife’s murder has mental problems and goes into a cafe to stew about it. Then he sees a nun, dressed in the same colour habit as the one who was last seen speaking with his wife, and goes after her. He follows her to the top of a tower and finds that she’s a walking stone statue, the same one who killed his wife. Fascinating! So, it was a pretty neat story and it was really neat to read about the anthropomorphization of a stone statue that kills people for doing things they find morally wrong. I liked it and found it to be one of the better stories in the anthology.

Loop – Douglas E Winter
It’s a porn story. It’s a story about a guy who spends his life obsessing over a girl who rises to porn-star fame up and past her untimely death. Really? Why the hell is this story in here? The only thing “horror” related things that are in this is the grossly mundane activities that this guy does at a Sisyphusian level, the porn-girl gets shot and the breif scene where they describe the grainy autopsy video. I read it in hopes of something happening, but all I read was a porno story. If I wanted that, I could’ve just read fanfiction.

The Hunger and Ecstacy of Vampires – Brian Stableford
Turn of the Century London where a bunch of gentleman, Ocar Wilde included, gather around to listen to some guy tell his drug-induced ride to the future where  vampires are the rulers of the world and man is cattle. The second is where he’s in an alternate reality where satyrs and centaurian like creatures run around. I stopped by this point; the story was just terribly boring. I counted to see how many pages I had left and it was 40. I wasn’t interested in it enough to continue with the remaining pages.

I was also continuously thrown off because when the characters spoke, they use “Dr W*****.” What the hell am I supposed to think with this? “Dr W”? “Dr W-star-star-star-star-star”? “Dr W-asterick-asterick-asterick-asterick-asterick”? “Dr Wasterick?” Jamie pointed out that the author could’ve been emulating Poe, who used “—–” with names, but I can totally see that in verbalization, I can’t see “*****” .

Lacuna – Nicholas Royle
It’s a scene about some guy who just wakes up in the middle of the night. I read it and went “what the fuck?” It’s a snippet, a half thought piece that would sound really nice as a longer short story or a novel. But hey, the notation at the beginning: it’s a scene in a novel. Let it stay there.

And the book ends with a Necrology, a wave out to the writers who had passed the year before, which is pretty neat. But, overall, this was a disappointing book. It is, however, the very first “Best New Horror” and I’ve got to cut it some slack. And, I am so used to Mammoth books being awesome with maybe one or two stories being not so great that this was a really big disappointment.

Oh well, we have it, so we’re going to keep it. I’m glad I’m done reading the book and am happy to be on something else (as of writing this particular post, I am reading “Superstitious” by RL Stine, not including the 20 or so books that I have started and have not finished yet. I’m also thinking about cracking open “That Good Old Cape Magic” or a YA novel called “Madapple“)

nose goblin

I feel like a walking snot ball. Jamie called me a Giant Nose Goblin.

The short story writing excersize has worked a little. I found some inspiration and now am working on a “short” story (last time I started work on a short story, I ended at roughly 30 pages, hand written, and I am still nowhere where I want to be with only a vague idea what it’s about). So far, I’m going for notes and I keep coming up with more questions than anything. It’s been fun to work on and hopefully I’ll have something decent by the time it’s over with.

Snooch has finally realized there is something in the tank on our dresser (Dante). He’s been an evil little shit when it comes to the tank the last few days by unplugging Dante’s heater and lamp, getting on the tank (thankfully the top is a reinforced metal mesh), he has broken a bulb, knocked the lamp off of the tank and bent the lamp shade thing, and now he’s hit it hard enough to move it while spazzing out. It makes me glad that Ugly only loafs up in front of Dante’s tank.

I think I may have gotten someone interested in adopting Leanna, so that’s great. We’re really hoping someone will adopt her soon; she needs her own family to love on. And Hobbes has decided that he’s going to “talk back/act out” whenever we tell him he needs to “go to bed.” It’s really cute and I don’t mind encouraging it because he prances around like a goofball and shakes his head “no,” but I know he’s doing it because he just wants to act out a little bit. And by encouraging, I am usually walking after him in the kitchen telling him I know he doesn’t want to, but he has to go to bed and he’s being silly. He’s a good dog.

Speaking of work, the other day I had a girl shove her pen in my face demanding to know if I wanted to work a specific day while I was writing down my schedule. I looked at her and calmly responded “It’s Saturday, I work every Saturday.” (and I do, I don’t mind. The only time I don’t is when I’m really sick or that super rare occassion that they schedule me off)

She decided to go on a rant about how it’s no fair because that’s her birthday and she requested it off “like 4 months ago.” I went back to writing down my schedule and she proceeded to bitch and moan to every single person who walked up to either clock out or write down their schedule about how it’s “not fair.”

One of our co-workers looked at her and unsympathetically told her to put her hours up and see if anyone will take them. She bitched about how it wasn’t fair. By this time, my only thoughts were “What? Are you turning 6?”

I don’t know what they tell people now when they get hired, but when I was hired, I was informed that yes, you can request days off, but there is no garauntee that you’ll get that day or those days off. Depending on what’s going on, they’ll try very hard to work with your request, but basically you don’t know until the schedule is posted.

dogs and writing

I have learned over the past few days that my new mantra is “I love my dogs, I love my dogs, I love my dogs.” This is due to only a small number of things (being sick, housework, Jamie and Fred ripping down the studio-thing, it raining, etc) But, we have also found that while we expect the worst of our dogs, they’re actually pretty well behaved and they do shut up after 5 minutes of barking at 4:30 am unlike little miss Leanna who has decided barking is all she is going to do. Not fun first thing in the morning.

For the most part, the studio-thing is down. What’s pretty much left is the “foundation” that constitutes the “storage” half of it that is partially underground (and also full of gravel), the floor/ceiling to that part of the building which is interlocked flooring peices that have been nailed together, and the highly unstable stairs and porch. This building thing was very deceptive. Jamie pointed out that while they were trying to pull it apart, they found that the person who built it put support beams up by nailing 3 peices of wood together in a hundred different ways, and that is exactly what they did for the roof as well. Well, now we know why the chainsaw didn’t want to work (besides not wanting to go through the 6 boxes of nails that were used and the 3 layers of roofing shingles plus layer of roofing paper and packing tape).

In a way, I am not shocked at all by this.

During this time of…demolition and annoyance, Izzy found that she really does not like loud noises and reverted back to refusing to go down the hallway. When we had fostered her, she was terrified of hallways, so it was really sad seeing her cower. Being the evil bastard that I am, I picked her up and plunked her puppy-butt on the back porch and she promptly went and hid under it.

Izzy still has bathroom issues, but she’s tiny and we try to make sure she goes to the bathroom outside more times than in. We’ve gotten to where she does it maybe overnight, sometimes if she can’t hold it she’ll do it in the afternoon. But she also has excitable pee moments. She’s a puppy, and I suck and sometimes forget to take her out five minutes after she drinks a lot of water (she has the bladder the size of a marble, I swear)

It took two days and Firefly barrelling down the hallway to the backyard before Izzy would willingly go outside without cowering. Thunderstorms and lightening strikes don’t bother her, but hammering does. Welcome to the wonderfully weird family, Izz-butt.

Anywho.

So.

I was going to spend some time writing about writing (ha), but I started off on a tangent about the building thing, realized that I’d already pretty much written about it, deleted it, and wrote about Izzy. This is me, scatterbrained and it makes perfect sense to me because that’s how I roll. Or, at least, it makes sense at the time and if it doesn’t later then fine, whatever.

I enjoy writing, but I have come to the startling conclusion that I just don’t do it any longer. Sure, I’ll write a blog entry every so often, but even that’s become less and less often as time goes on. I used to enjoy writing fanfiction, but I haven’t written anything in…well I can’t say years since I started working on a Harry Potter fanfic a while back, but even that was well over a year ago and I finally found pieces to it. I had an idea, and that’s all that mattered, and that’s how I went with those stories. But other than that, I hadn’t written any fanfiction in forever, I think my last one was some sort of Gundam Wing or Ronin Warriors thing (yes, those were my two universes. I have no problem admitting to this).

I also had some neat ideas for either a short story or a novel or something and…well…I still have the idea on paper. Hell, I’ve got a trilogy outline somewhere in that mass of papers I call my “ideas folders” (yes folders, with an ‘S’ because there are four of them, not including the notebooks that have random ideas at random intervals and other spots they undoubtedly are) I also have a base outline for a zombie novel, a SF novel, and roughly 1/4 of a Mythos story that would be awesome to submit to an anthology if I can ever finish the damn thing, figure out where it’s going exactly, and pare it down a bit.

I think it may be time to try a different approach to writing besides “Hey! That’s a neat idea!” and “Ok, point A, point B, and point C.” I do normally go with the first one, I tried the second one and that’s how that weird trilogy thing came out, but I couldn’t figure a good way to pull it together. I think what’s stopping me on that one is the basic “Why!?” because it bothers me when there is no viable explanation other than “because I can and it makes sense in my world.” And I’m a bit lazy on the research I need to make that particular story believable.

I think what it is is that I used to be able to crank out hundreds, or thousands, of words with no problem and it be decent. Not remarkable or amazing, but pretty good for a kid whose biggest asset was Wordpad/notebook, some music, and imagination. What the hell happened?

I still work on book and movie reviews, sure (I am way behind on them as well because I am a procrastinator), but I don’t work on story ideas. I pointed this out to Jamie the other day and mentioned that I should do something about it (and I should. Where else can I be a serial killer and get away with it?) I had the idea of finding more interesting concepts to write about to help out with genre and things, or even just as a fun excersize. And, if anything, maybe something neat will come out of it.

Jamie thought the idea was pretty fun and pointed out that maybe we could just take a look at anthologies and try to write based on their breif idea to see what comes out. I think this is an awesome idea. Use it more of seeing what I can come up with than “let’s see what I can vomit out onto a keyboard and send it out to see what happens.”

I can either peruse the decent anthology collection we have on our shelves, go through publisher synopses (like Severed Press. These guys are awesome) and try from one of their things they’re doing, or I can browse Amazon’s collection of anthologies and do base works from what I find.

It’ll be a fun way to do things. Get back into that whole writing thing and see what I can do with it. And, if I get stuck, I can always remind myself that if Wil Wheaton, Sam Starbuck, and Ursula Vernon can do it, then damnit, so can I.

fun fun

So, it’s been an interesting day and a half. Yesterday Jamie and Fred spent about 8 hours working on tearing our studio/thing down. This should’ve taken a lot less time, but surprisingly, even with the two back supports cut, the damn thing still didn’t fall down. They also found an old Nerf football (like really old, when Nerf still did bubble-letters), an entombed can of beer, and a pellet gun. They also had broken glass fall on them that was buried within the wall/ceiling.

Fred managed to slice his hand open, but I don’t think he noticed. He also fell into the holly bush with the chainsaw going, so he said he’d chop it down today. This was surprising, as we were expecting him to turn around and cut it up right then.

Then, this morning, as they were loading the truck up so they could haul some of the stuff, they shattered the back window of Fred’s truck. He has an appointment to get it fixed first thing in the morning, which was the earliest they could get him in. Jamie mentioned that the woman he was speaking to about what had happened tried three other locations to see if they could get him in any earlier, which is pretty awesome.

 

I’m still sick, so I’m pretty worthless to them. Instead, I’m doing housework (taking a small break right now, obviously). Snooch has decided he wants to eat the Pirahna Plant that Jamie made me a while back, so I have to find new hiding spots for the poor thing.

I hate being sick. I feel like I’m holding my nose and trying to pop my ears thanks to all the pressure that’s there.

Aw man

I gave up and went to the doctor yesterday morning (thanks to Bob, Action Hero because he was able to drive me) due to being barely able to talk and feeling like crap. This made our friend Robert happy, who had been attempting on Monday to get me to go to the doctor and even offered to drive me.

Come to find out, not only was I awesome enough to get a migraine from hell over the weekend, I also have Strep and Laryngitis. This sucks and this means that I cannot work until I can talk again, which may or may not be by Friday. I’m hoping I can work Friday because, if not, this means that I have missed an entire week of work. I hate missing one day of work, or even an hour of work. If I could do something at work other than talk all day (which is a large portion of my job), I would be at work right now doing stuff.

I had Jamie take me to work yesterday evening so I could hand over my doctor’s note and pretty much prove “I’m sick, I can’t work, this sucks.” in a wonderfully raspy whisper. Thankfully, I was able to catch the lady who makes the schedules, freaked her out by telling her what I have, and she said she’d take care of the schedule for me (yay!)

So, now I feel like I’m hacking up a lung, my chest hurts from coughing (I have coughed so hard I popped the large pustule on the back of my throat. yes this is gross and I got to gross out the doctor!), every time I sneeze it hurts, thanks to coughing all the gunk has broken up and stuff just keeps happening. And I feel like I can’t hear for crap now since now my ears are clogged.

Yep, when I get sick, I get a bunch of gunk at once. But, on the brightside, in a couple of days I’ll be over this. Now to take the regemine of pills and take the beasts out.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, review

(film release: 2009)

A group of traveling performers struggle to give their audience a wonderful time, as well as get an audience for the most part. Then they find a guy (Tony, played mostly by Heath Ledger) dangling from the bottom of a bridge, save him, and pretty much get a small audience thanks to him. Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) sends people into a fascinating alternate reality through the use of a mind trick he learned over a thousand years prior, but he is also continuously tricked by Mr Nick (Tom Waits) into placing bets to see who will win and if the world really does end.

During this time, Mr Nick tricks Parnassus into making “one last bet.” If Parnassus can convert 5 souls before Mr Nick, then Valentina (Lily Cole, who bears a striking resemblance to Katherine Isabelle [Ginger Snaps]) will be free to live as she likes.

There’s  all kinds of twists and turns, and due to the unfortunate occurrence of Heath Ledger’s death, they also put a new twist on the film by having Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell play alternate Tonys while they were in the Imaginarium. This was absolutely fascinating and they pulled it off really well. It was a lot like watching Alice Through the Looking-Glass, and it was really neat to see how they differentiated between Reality and the Imaginarium’s Reality (mostly through the use of CGI, but I think they pulled it off really well) .

I found myself enjoying the throwback stage sequences, but that’ me. I’m sure a few people don’t enjoy that early 20th century/silent film costuming and staging. The stories are really well done and I found the film really neat.

During the film, The Hanged Man (tarot card) is shown as, I felt, a symbol of change or choice. I had to double check my book because the meaning of The Hanged Man was on the edge of my brain and I could not remember what it was (it’s kind of a change, more like a change of spiritual/worldly perspective and knowledge than your basic idea of change, which could be change of anything like instead of going for the soda you go get tea instead). The symbols on Tony’s head are familiar, but more in the “Those look like something from Wingdings on Wordpad” than some sort of “eery, dark occult” meaning.

So, I think that kids would enjoy this (possibly those over the age of 7 because it could be easily confusing), big kids would enjoy this. Those who enjoy the world of Wonderland (that’s what it made me think of), those who are interested in seeing Heath Ledger’s last works would find this fascinating, those who enjoy fantasy works would like this. Even, possibly, those who enjoy the world of Harry Potter would like this.

I would recommend this film to friends if they were interested in things like this, people who have kids, etc. I enjoyed the film, I thought it was pretty neat. It might be a while until I watch it again seeing as how we have a few hundred films waiting to be watched on our Netflix lists and in the living room (the living room has around…50 films we haven’t watched that we’ve borrowed from people and bought from different places)