Friday, December 31, 2010

#267. Reading List: 1812 - The War That Forged a Nation


The latest on the Reading List is:

1812: The War That Forged a Nation by Walter Borneman, which focuses on, of all possible surprises in the universe, the War of 1812, perhaps the most famous but least known conflict in US history. I've got a story based on it that I hope to at least have started by 2012 (and hopefully be published otherwise before then), so this is unofficially a bit of research material, but also keeping with the trend I was speaking of earlier in the List.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

#266. Reading List: Israel Potter


Next on the Reading List:

Israel Potter by Herman Melville, one of his last novels, which is partially based on a eal historical figure, a survivor of Bunker Hill, one of the defining conflicts of the American Revolution, who actually wrote his own story at the time of the monument that commemorates that battle, several decades earlier. The veracity of Potter's own narrative was suspect enough, but Melville weaves a story that may reflect on his own fallen literary status, but which provides a fascinating look into the formative United States experience. Melville himself was descended from distinguished members of this generation. Part of what's so fascinating for me is that, without intending it, I'm reading this book after Johnny One-Eye, a far more contemporary, but no less irreverent, look at the same period in history. Glossing over the rest of the Reading List, I'll be delving into a lot of interrelated works, and again, through no conscious intent.

...And I work in a bookstore where people can't even find a single book on their own...Speaking of which, I'm once again giving credit for this book (via linking) to my employer, which has the exact copy I'm reading readily available on its site, which Amazon hasn't. I may be using Borders more often for this blogging of my ongoing list...

Thursday, December 02, 2010

#265. Reading List: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Mr. Palomar


Currently on the Reading List:

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie, a collection of interrelated short stories painting a portrait of life on an Indian reservation. I originally read Alexie in college, a book called Indian Killer, which wasn't very good, and as it turns out, not really all that reflective of his writing. This stuff's far better, and helps demonstrate how he'd become a noted literary voice.

Previously, I read Italo Calvino's Mr. Palomar, a series of existential observations, basically thought-provoking material. I may read the author's more famous If on a Winter's Night a Traveler, a book I was supposed to read in college, but didn't get around to, later on, when I've made it further along in the list (i.e. completed it).

Melville's Typee was pretty good, but far from his most literary work. It makes sense, what happened to his career, after reading it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

#264. Hall Bros. Entertainment, Ecce Homo, Moxie, John Morrison


It's been more than a month since I last posted here! I've completed several books since 10/14, but I'll get back to that later in the week. Today I'm just gonna shoot the breeze a little. I don't know if I mentioned this already, but I got accepted into a Hall Bros. Entertainment anthology, which was pretty awesome. Work on Ecce Homo has been a little spotty of late, partly because of a trip to Maine two weeks ago. I was able to belt out five chapters in one day immediately before that, however, and have done a lot of story development for the remaining half (at least), which to me is just as good as writing (though writing is pretty good, too), given that I'm still trying to get Finnegan published. I don't know if I had done so already last month, but I might as well mention that I've sent it off to a couple of publishers, continuing a year-long effort to find a home for it.

I'm also interested in writing about Moxie! I'm in the preliminary stages of a book proposal that'll cover people's opinions about the oldest and most obnoxious more-or-less original taste soft drink in the country, which happens to be featured in my home town of Lisbon Falls, ME, both at the Moxie Store and the annual Moxie Festival. The working title is This Book Has Moxie!, while I hope to set up This Website Has Moxie! and other tie-ins as they become appropriate and/or relevant.

Really excited for the apparent push John Morrison is getting. Dare I hope for a WrestleMania main event? Also really happy that Mr. Anderson is getting recuperative time off for his concussion, glad that it's being taken very seriously, very publically. And you can't possibly blame the man for this injury.

...But, as I said, I'll be back with more later in the week.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

#263. Bound for Glory 2010, John Morrison, EcceHomo


Given the result of the main event of TNA's Bound for Glory, and who I've been talking about in this blog, you might assume that I'd be a tad upset. But it couldn't have been more brilliant. In fact, the heel turn and championship turn by Jeff Hardy may be exactly what the company needs to reach the next level. This is a purely storyline piece of work that seems to have connected with the target audience. It isn't merely making someone champion who'll please that audience, but rather, and unlike the Main Event Mafia or Jeff Jarrett's runs, not a contrived attempt to elicit heat. This is exactly like Hulk Hogan's NWO moment. Hardy has a legitimate claim to be TNA's Sting, actually (A.J. Styles being, as the company finally realized, its Ric Flair). While he hasn't been an original company man, a lot of his biggest moments as a solo competitor are going to be remembered as a part of the TNA roster. Anyway, this is good, good news, even for Mr. Anderson, who stands poised at least to stick around the main event, because a lot of the work he's done with the company to date has been with Jeff Hardy. So I'm pleased on a number of levels.

John Morrison, meanwhile, finally seems to be capitalizing on his unique parkour technique, much as Daniel Bryan has been benefiting from all the goodwill he generated as the underrated "rookie" in the first NXT season (but see how well that first season has turned out for pretty much everyone involved?). I think, barring unforeseen circumstances, this will finally push him to the next level. Same with former partner The Miz, who seems to be building some legitimate momentum of his own, most notably on this past Raw, when he actually stood toe-to-toe with John Cena, who himself is reaching another platform by actively working with a new generation of competitors. It's the exact opposite of what Randy Orton is doing right now (and ironically, how he got back to the championship in the first place, because of his apparent willingness to do this; his lack of actual commitment to any one new star has hindered his own efforts), and why Orton's title reign is completely meaningless.


As I mentioned recently, I've started writing my third book, Ecce Homo, and once again, it's turning into a revelatory experience. Everything I learned the first two times, it's helping to craft something unique and special. I can't speak highly enough about NaNoWriMo, the challenge that provided the impetus of the three acts that comprise my first book. last year I challenged myself to do it over the course of two months, and it worked out really well. And so I'm doing that again, and finding new ways to represent my style of writing. I'll know just how successful it is if I complete the book by the end of the year, which is my goal, and should be easily attainable. I'm giving myself more time this time. I like the pressure keeping a small timetable provides, but I'm realizing, more and more, I can be a little lax, and it's not the end of the world, or the book. I'm a writer who likes to think. Sometimes that means I get very little writing done. But more importantly, it helps bring on new depths and innovation to my writing, which are traits I value almost to anything else.

I'm also working on a story called The Two Caballeros, in conjunction with a comic called Liberation, TX. I'm always ambitious. I figure at some point, all this hard work is bound to pay off...

#262. Reading List: Typee


Next up on the Reading List:

Typee, Herman Melville's first and most popular book...y'know, in his lifetime. I've read most of his later works (still haven't gotten around to his poetry, which is what he sustained himself on creatively during the last part of his life), and recently picked up a collected edition with his early works, so at some point, I will finally be able to say, I've read all of Melville. And darned proud of it.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

#261. Ecce Homo


Would you believe that I started writing another book? Crazy, I know, because I have written two already, and neither have in the technical sense been published. But when the idea of Ecce Homo occurred to me, I couldn't resist. It combines a recurring element of Finnegan with my inability to write typical descriptive fiction. In other words, it's another stream of consciousness kind of story. It's fun to get back into what amounts to my routine of writing long fiction, which was honed pretty well over the course of the time it took to write Finnegan and Cloak of Shrouded Men, the first drafts of which took a combined five months. Not that I'm bragging...

...Or, shooting myself in the foot. Where's all the wood in the internet?

#260. Reading List: Dave Barry Slept Here


Next up on Reading List!

Dave Barry Slept Here, and I forget the author, but he's going to show up a bunch more times on the list. I've been reading him for more than a decade now. Never gets old. I'm also constantly coming up with word groupings that Would Make A Great Name For A Rock Band. Kurt Vonnegut and the Slaughterhouse Fives, for instance...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

#259. Reading List: On Writing


Next up on the Reading List:

On Writing by Stephen King, someone I have been inadvertently chasing most of my life. I attended the same high school, the same college, moved to Colorado, ended up reading after years of believing he wasn't for me. I had the teacher who famously told him he couldn't write. Well, this book probably explains, or makes that belief, all the more baffling, because here he finally gets to explain what he thinks writing is all about. So far, I've been able to ascertain that perhaps Mr. King and I have a few different ideas about that. I still think he's a pretty good writer, but maybe this book helps explain why he isn't perhaps a little better, or more consistent. I now believe he's as motivated by all the B-movies he watched growing up as by a desire to write legitimate fiction. I don't mean to sound like I'm knocking him, because The Stand, among the many things he's written that I've loved, is among my all-time favorites of any author.

Anyway, that aside, I have to report having given up on China Mieville's The City & The City. Turns out he had a far better concept than he could write.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

#258. Reading List: The City & the City


Moving right along, the next book in my
Reading List is:

The City & The City by China Mieville, which just won a Hugo. Given this and Sacred Games a few months back, you might think I read a lot of detective fiction, but I really don't, only when it has literary or historic (The Maltese Falcon, which is another one I read recently-ish) value. Anyway, I work at Borders, and the biggest perk is the occasional advanced reader I get to put my grubby little hands on. Usually I read those at work, on my lunch breaks, but this one I've been saving, and more than a year later, have finally gotten around to.

Age has only made it appreciate in value, thank you very much.

Monday, September 13, 2010

#257. Reading List: The Great Snape Debate


Up next on my Reading List is:

The Great Snape Debate (Orson Scott Card, Amy Berner, Joyce Millman), a collection of essays probing the character of the famous anti-hero from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. (Strangely, Borders printed it exclusively, but only has it available at its Marketplace, while Amazon has it available, and I could have used that page, which I typically do in these entries.) I don't read a lot of scholarship on literature, possibly because in school, even though the teachers were always pretending that they wanted my thoughts, they really wanted a reformatting of some other people's, which I never understood. But I do like essays, and this one is a pretty ambitious collection, one of the great artifacts of the craze over the boy wizard that by all rights should only be in its infancy. I'm of the mind that Harry is a creation for the ages, and something like this is an early testament, beyond the fan commentaries and reports of all the initial enormous sales, that his world has plenty of critical merit as well.

#256. Fan Companion, PWI Female 50, Snape


Fixed Fan Companion's format a little. For some reason, the archive links had looked terrible previously, but now they're at the bottom of the page and look better there. It may prove pretty interesting once I begin the Film Fan in a few weeks. I plan to detail 50 movies a week, broken into 25-block intervals, with a total of 500, plus (as I'm currently planning) a few spotlight posts for particular trends within the list.


So I missed the PWI 500 issue with my subscription, officially. It shipped last month, and I got my first issue a few days ago, which has the Female 50 (Michelle McCool deserves the top spot, and she did last year, too, even though she didn't get it). But I finally took a look at the ranking, and I'm pretty pleased with the names I was looking for. AJ Styles, as I noted a few months ago, certainly deserved his top spot as well. In addition, CM Punk, John Morrison, and Mr. Anderson also got some pretty good spots, which I was happy about. This is weird, because usually I don't end up agreeing with just about any of the rankings (I could provide links for the posts in years past where I've talked about them, but I'm lazy).

I will have to acquire the issue at some later date.


Having finished Jerome Charyn's brilliant Johnny One-Eye, I've now moved on to the Borders compilation The Great Snape Debate (which this post will be below very shortly in my usual Reading List entry), which has gotten me thinking. (And this is also pretty neat timing, because I'll be reading this shortly before the first half of The Deathly Hallows movie is released in a few months, just as the book was released in anticipation of Rowling's final effort.) I think I actually think better of The Little Book however conveniently Selden Edwards ended up tying his story up, because it still calls to mind some pretty deep ideas about the meaning of impressions. Snape turned out to be a good guy after all, but this book reminds its reader that some people weren't as convinced as others that this would end up being the case. Like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (or even All Star Batman and Robin, Frank Miller's extreme, polarizing take on the early Dark Knight), "when the legend becomes fact, print the legend." People like to hold onto their impressions, because it's far easier to accept things in simple terms than to consider their complexities, no matter what they may be.


Anyway, that's all for now. I can understand the allure of writing everything you think when you're on the web; even though I've maintained this blog for eight years, and have a Facebook, I still don't see the point. If I wanted to do that, I'd keep a journal, and let history judge it...

Monday, September 06, 2010

#255. Mr. Anderson, Film Fan


Really pleased that Mr. Anderson emerged as the only winner of the semi-finals at No Surrender last night, which means he is technically the headliner of Bound for Glory next month. If he faces Kurt Angle or Jeff Hardy, there are already built-in possibilities for both, so that's all the more awesome. This is by far the closest he's ever gotten to a company building itself around him.

I was reading an anecdote in a recent WWE book where Santino Marella remembers Anderson and Randy Orton (who would later go on to put the final nail in Ken's career in that company) hilariously sing along to "Bohemian Rhapsody," which reads so more interestingly and funny when you consider where that particular relationship ended up (read that other parenthetical phrase again).

And so it's all the better knowing that he's finally made it, and unlike Christian or Angle, he's not a former WWE star who was hopscotched to the top (Hardy is the only other one I can think of right now, and there are some big reasons why that would be), so his ascension would truly be earned, not just from his prior accomplishments and popularity, but for what he's been doing all year long.

I understand that there's lots of controversy around him, some of which explains why he's in this kind of position to begin with, the injury and drug issues (which might be tied up as cleanly, the former anyway, as he sometimes insists, and which might explain the latter as well, which he would be stupid to try and explain, one way or another, because right now, no one would really want to hear it in any kind of positive sense), but I've always stuck behind him. He just seems like an all-around nice guy (despite being an Asshole), who has long deserved success in the ring.

Hell, if anything, any obvious comparisons to The Rock are only intensied in that regard. WWE tried to push him so hard so fast, the fans had little time to adjust, and neither did he, which I think is what really screwed him over. But because he absolutely knew his character, there was no way of outgrowing that original resentment by becoming his own version of The Rock. WWE gave up, focused around a few of the guys they had already been working with, and so he had to look for other opportunities.

Thank god for TNA.

And thank god...for Miiiisterrrr Anderson.



Sorry, got a little carried away with that one.

Anyway, I finally finished ranking the 500 movies that will be featured in the Film Fan Companion, the follow-up project to the Star Trek Fan Companion I've been doing since June. I had the top hundred ranked for a while, but when it came to the next four hundred, even I was a little daunted, and I've been doing a version of this list for about the last five years. 500 will be the biggest yet, but I feel pretty confident about it. But there'll be more information on that later.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

#254. Reading List: Johnny One-Eye


The latest in my Reading List:

Johnny One-Eye, by Jerome Charon, who appears to be another of the wildly unappreciated literary greats working today. The book itself is an irreverent look at the Revolutionary War from the perspective of George Washington's bastard son, who happens to call a brothel in Manhattan known as Holy Ground home. It's such fresh writing, whatever you may find offensive about that, you really shouldn't care, because this book is wickedly good.

The Little Book by Selden Edwards, meanwhile, was pretty good, but probably was better at one of the many drafts ago. Edwards buffed the whole thing into such a streamlined product after decades of working on it that he simplified everything to unbelievable proportions. Or at least that's my working theory. Still worth a look, however.

#253. Modern Woe, A.C. Hall, Paperback Reader?, Mr. Anderson


I recently completed the "official" tally for Modern Woe, at a hundred poems, but I recently learned that a "lost" poem was posted at the Fan Companion in error, so that makes it 101, and then I'll be writing one more, "Being 30," to complete the "Pulling 30" sequence, after I reach, well, 30 years old, next Wednesday to be precise.

So that's pretty awesome. My adventures trying to convince A.C. Hall to publish me in his new venture weren't completely for naught. I decided I liked writing the style I'd adopted for the two attempts so much that I will probably be doing more of that in the future. My latest one, Bound by Blood, can be found at the Comic Book Resources forums, where I post as Tekamthi. I don't get there often, unfortunately, but recently figured it'd be good exposure for my writing.

I may start writing for Paperback Reader again soon. Bart Gerardi's long-standing comics site recently converted to Wordpress, and I've been mulling going back for a few weeks now. I already like Wordpress, because that's what Lower Decks uses (where I'm currently posting the Fan Companion simultaneously, which is only about eleven Star Trek films away from completion; I'll be working on my 500 Film Fan Companion afterward).

Now that RVD is no longer TNA champion, Mr. Anderson is in a good spot to finally get the big belt. I hope it happens.

Summer Slam looked like a really good PPV, so I'm looking forward to seeing that when it hits DVD. Chris Jericho's set is due about the same time, so I'll have some fresh wrestling to enjoy.

Did I mention how glad I am that Daniel Bryan is back?

Thursday, August 05, 2010

#252. Ricky Steamboat, Mr. Anderson, Black Harvest


I did get a lot of wrestling DVDs recently, including the Ricky Steamboat set (the guy was like the opposite of Chris Benoit; and sorry, Jericho, but the Backlash match was pretty good, too), and some TNA collections, including the "Cross the Line Volume 3" set (worth it for Styles/Daniels/Joe II and, if you're a Mr. Anderson fan, Against All Odds), and the set collecting the company's first three official PPVs (which are more pleasantly entertaining than I would've thought).

I've got to reference Mr. Anderson one more time this post, since Randy Orton recently made it his business to once again confirm apparent WWE beliefs that Anderson doesn't belong in professional wrestling, mentioning the incident in Anderson's final night with WWE that he didn't protect Orton enough. Dude, Orton, if you weren't ready to come back yet, you shouldn't have come back. I mean, Anderson was literally returning from injury himself that very night, and contrary to popular belief, he came out just fine. And to claim he should be looking for another career is in pretty stark contrast to his success with TNA in the last six months. The dude has literally proven that he belongs in the main event, and has for a long time. If he doesn't become world champion soon, it's because he literally doesn't need it anymore.

Which is more than can be said for Orton, who has thrown away a face turn that should have taken his career to the next level. I'm as big a fan of Orton as anyone could be, but he's done nothing since 2009, which is just mind-boggling.

It's not as if WWE hasn't given him the opportunity, which is more than could be said for John Morrison, who like Anderson is a textbook case of WWE looking a gift-horse in the mouth.

Seriously, whatsupwitdat?


So when not blabbing about wrestling, I also strive for a writing career. The latest shiny idea to come my way is Black Harvest. I legitimately think this may be the one. I would call it my version of Lost, Inception, and Grant Morrison, with no filters needed, and no excuses. Seriously, if I can pull this one off, I think I finally have my ticket.

Corridor, the last idea I talked about here, isn't gone, but has been placed on the back-burner. It may or may not have been a revenge plot against the diabolical A.C. Hall, besides...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

#251. QB Midyear Report


Posted the big QB Midyear Report over at Lower Decks, a ranked listing of my 75 favorite series, stories, and general comics from the first half of 2010, which has been pretty eventful, from the news that the top two books, G. Willow Wilson's Air and The Great Ten have been prematurely cancelled, to waiting since February to finally getting my hands on Andi Ewington's [forty-five]. Anyway, hopefully worth a look for comics fans.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

#250. Reading List: The Little Book


The next book on my Reading List:

The Little Book, by Selden Edwards, one of those truly fascinating books with a fascinating story behind it, too. Edwards is a first-time novelist, and he's been working on this one for decades, a time-travel adventure with true literary ambition.

Gods Behaving Badly, meanwhile, was absolutely awesome.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

#249. Pro Wrestling Illustrated, Projects, Inception


So I ended up subscribing to Pro Wrestling Illustrated, a move I was somewhat reluctant to make, but the PWI 500 is coming up and they've apparently put A.J. Styles on top (a good move). Wal-Mart (at least my local one) stopped carrying the magazine, and I think the subscription price was half off, so it seemed not entirely crazy at the time. I guess I'll find out.

I also got the Ricky Steamboat DVD (at said Wal-Mart), so I look forward to watching that, and got to watch some Raw on Telemundo today, so I guess it was good a time as any to lead off another blog with wrestling.

I've got a comic brewing tentatively called Corridor that is serving as my latest hope at breaking in. Who knows? I'm still trying to sell Finnegan, or The Second Coming (though for what it's worth my mom seemed less enthusiastic about this one than she did about Cloak of Shrouded Men, and so has my older sister, who has been extremely reluctant about reading it, but this one's a lot more cerebral, philosophical than even the first book was). And I'm still writing poetry.

I've taken to the idea that it's better to live in one's own reality than to try and impose yourself on someone else's. It's almost the message of Inception, so I'm not entirely crazy. Or maybe I am.

Time will tell?

Thursday, July 08, 2010

#248. Reading List: Gods Behaving Badly


Up next on the Reading List:

Gods Behaving Badly, by Marie Phillips, a comic novel looking at your familiar Greek pantheon in modern times, the first book not to be epic length in ages, but still quite entertaining. I didn't really know what to expect from this one, other than a premise I found charming, but the writing really is quite good.

Vikram Chandra's Sacred Games, was really quite excellent.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

#247. Fan Companion, Modern Woe, Prod Oasis, A.C. Hall, Wrestling


The Fan Companion is certainly charging ahead full steam, in case you were wondering (and not reading!!!), while Modern Woe chugs along to a hundred (67 and counting). Soon I'll be launching another series of poems within that one dedicated to philosophy, following the recent "Coyote, Trickster" set. You can thank Fred Van Lente and his Action Philosophers comic for that.

I picked up an issue during a binge yesterday at Bargain/Escape Velocity Comics in downtown Colorado Springs. By "binge" I mean I got forty comics, but they were twenty-five cents each, so it wasn't too bad, and I got a lot of great stuff while I was at it.

I'm still contemplating ways to break into a professional writing career, which is like a second job, one I've had since 2004, after graduating from UMaine. If I actually chronicled every attempt, it would make me look quite foolish indeed. But I keep myself sane by working on wholly personal projects in the meantime, which I sometimes try and adapt for public use as well. That's how I came upon Pacific Rim and Prod Oasis, E.N.G., prequel comics for a sci-fi creation I've been working on for fifteen years. Also, I think I want to do a comic based on Sparx, a somewhat obscure DC character at this point.

But as I said, I'm always working on ideas.

I'm also in the curious position of submitting stories to a former writing partner of mine, A.C. Hall, from the aborted Dead Letter Quarterly days, which is nearing three years of age (strange enough to say). He and his brother rejected my first story, "Insomniac's Dream," even though to my mind it fit perfectly (if by "perfectly" one assumes the linkage to "my mind," which hardly ever seems in sync with the rest of the, er, world) with the anthology theme they'd concocted.

In wrestling news, I think things are going fairly well, a slow development of things I've written about in the past. John Morrison is still making his case for superstardom, Mr. Anderson is making himself a TNAdiot, and Bryan Danielson (I really wish he'd've worked out in WWE) hopefully gets to join Desmond Wolfe soon.

I went through a recent spurt of watching WWE DVDs covering old promotions, including the AWA and ECW. I'm looking forward to picking up the new Ricky Steambeat set, and am really pumped for the Chris Jericho one being released later this year. I've been waiting for that one for a long time now.

Anyhoo, soonish I'll be updating the blog with my latest Reading List book. Vikram Chandra's Sacred Games has been amazing.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

#246. Modern Woe, Fan Companion


This is just to say I finally wrote and posted the promised "Advanced Genius" poem at the Modern Woe blog. Also, I'm now several entries into Fan Companion.

As always, still working on many things besides...

Friday, June 11, 2010

#245. Fan Companion


I'm about to launch what I hope will be an expansive look back at Star Trek, called the Fan Companion, which succeeds my experiences with Section 31/Lower Decks, where I'll be simultaneously be posting the same material. I've been a part of the Lower Decks community for the past ten years, but I'm ready to branch off, move on as it were, to a more independent venture, but right within the confines, for now, of the same things I've been doing. As I said, I hope to expand, but the work has to start somewhere.

I'll have more to say as it becomes relevant...

Thursday, June 03, 2010

#244. Modern Woe, Pacific Rim, Lost, Fringe, Heroes


The Modern Woe blog continues, for those interested in existential poetry. After the smashing success of "Living the New Fade," I'm going to be working on another long-form poem, "Advanced Genius," which continues on one hand a sequence that's dominated the last few weeks of the blog, "Book Terrors...!" while also building on the coincidental discovery I made the other week of another kindred soul in Jason Hartley, who wrote The Advanced Genius Theory, based on conversations he'd had with a friend for years, which, well, advanced to the point where he had to write a book about it. Basically, Hartley argues that "genius artists" like Bob Dylan and Orson Welles, who begin their careers with a tremendous amount of fanfare, hype, and acclaim, are over time perceived to have lost whatever mojo made it possible in the first place, when what's really going on is that they've surpassed their audience's ability to keep up with them, pioneers who continue to trailblaze long after the necessity to distinguish themselves. Anyway, I read the book in a day, which itself was pretty remarkable, and it's continued to be an inspiration, as well as the David Lipsky book Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, which has given me extensive insight into the late author David Foster Wallace, whom I seem to disagree with on any number of philosophic levels. But then, he was a successful writer, and I'm not.

Meanwhile, I think I've discovered yet another angle to launch one of my oldest projects with. It can't be spoiled by saying the working title is Pacific Rim, and happens to star a guy named Satoshi Kojima, a name that also happens to be shared with a professional wrestler.

I believe my association with the Section 31/Lower community is really nearing its end, which is a pity, because I really like writing, and that's been the most consistent place to write at that I've had for the past decade. You can catch my recent columns (HYGOTS) and reviews of Lost and it's finale, "The End," in addition to my thoughts on the second season of Fringe and what turned out to be the final hours of Heroes.

I'm thinking of ways to parlay my interest in movies a little more extensively, in terms of the public. That may be the project that succeeds the S31/LD experience.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

#243. Reading List: Sacred Games


The Reading List continues with:

Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra, which follows some of my previous excursions into Indian literature (such as The Satanic Verses and In Hanuman's Hands), and is the final of four epic-length books in a row. It was one of the books that caught my eye when I first started working in a bookstore, which I've found as a good way to catch some of the most interesting yet seldom talked about books being published today, at least as far as literary fiction goes. I still haven't gotten that much further along in my theoretical return to sci-fi/fantasy material, though I've discovered a title or two.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, meanwhile, has become one of my favorite books, so that's how the last one turned out.

#242. WrestleMania XXVI Thoughts


It's worth noting that "Living the New Fade" was written and posted over at the Modern Woe poetry blog.

Finally got my copy of the WrestleMania XXVI DVD from Amazon the other day. John Morrison and Big Show made some good work in a relatively short opening match. Probably the most dramatically-filmed match of the night, surprisingly. The Money in the Bank was interesting in that Evan Bourne was a surprise highlight. I haven't gotten to see a lot of him, whether he's been on ECW or Raw, because during his WWE tenure, I haven't had cable. The Undertaker/HBK match was slightly disappointing, because it followed the finisher escalation pattern a little too closely, but was still pretty cool. Jericho might have had his best WrestleMania match. The Hart-McMahon fight was like watching Angle-Guerrero from Summer Slam 2004 all over again, insofar as the relentlessness of it. Gail Kim was the hottest Diva, with Kelly Kelly not far behind. Alicia Fox apparently thinks she's Monty Brown. Vickie Guerrero, who has never and will never be a wrestler, manages to do just the right amount of blundering. Can't forget to mention Michelle McCool, who is my favorite Diva. Randy Orton probably also had his best WrestleMania, but he's been surprisingly good. It's funny to hear the crowd cheer his villainous behavior these days, just like his old friend Edge. CM Punk delivered a WrestleMania-caliber sermon. Rey Mysterio made an ironic Na'vi. It's still weird to think of Batista as anything but a crowd-favorite, because before his early-2006 injury, he was vastly more popular than Cena. Nice honor guard intro, though. Not much to say about Triple H and Sheamus.

The Hall of Fame this year was, thanks to Ultimate Warrior, dominated by old people, which was pretty evident during the ceremony. But it's great to celebrate some of the history that's made today's wrestling possible, as Gorgeous George's segments certainly made clear.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

#241. Modern Woe Continues


As goes the current poetry cycle, Modern Woe, I'm about to submit another lengthy piece that steps outside the bounds of the normal process (which is to basically write more or less on the spot, at the New Post prompt, which is something I mess around with every now and again, but rather actually deviate from; the last time was with "The Index" during the We'll See cycle). I've got to spend some real time on "Living the New Fade," because it's the latest in a series of poems I've been writing since 2003, and it's what I would consider my statement about modern times, the world we live in, which in one sense is exactly what I try to do with all my poems, but with the "New Fade" ones, I'm trying to define what exactly defines our times, and I've had it that we live in an age of increasingly fluctuating rules. I've been reading Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, David Lipsky's book about a road trip he took with the late David Foster Wallace, an author who at least in these interviews comes off as something who put a lot of thought into his worldview. I've been hesitant to read Infinite Jest, Wallace's best-known work, because in his writing, and even his ideas about writing, I don't know that I necessarily agree with him, but as a fellow thinker, I think we're more or less kindred spirits, which doesn't happen all that often for me.

Anyway, just wanted to write some about that.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

#240. 2010 Draft


Must...comment...on 2010 WWE draft...

The moves this time weren't all that huge, but they were pretty significant.

Chris Jericho - Biggest move, probably, but he's been on both brands rather prominently since his return.

Edge - Since this comes so soon after returning, doesn't really count as the big move it might have been. But it's nice for him to be back here, I guess, first time since he's really established himself post-Cena.

John Morrison - Could be a big move, if they want to use him to a significant degree, but we'll see.

R-Truth - Even though he's basically in the same position as Morrison, he stands to gain more, because there aren't as many expectations here.

Great Kali - Why not?

Hart Dynasty - I guess they made it official.

Ezekiel Jackson - Injuries kept him from Smackdown. So this makes even.

Goldust - Makes even.

Big Show - Same as Jericho.

Christian - Could be huge. He's this brand's Morrison draft pick.

Chris Masters - Could benefit much in the same way Dolph Ziggler has - in the long-term.

Kofi Kingston - Good timing, anyway. Could help him reach the next level. Okay, so that makes two Smackdown draft picks who resemble Raw's Morrison move.

MVP - Good move here. Positions him to feud with Jack Swagger. Hopefully that's the plan.

Kelly Kelly - Yay. :)

Chavo Guerrero - Right back home.

Cody Rhodes - No real benefit, which is not a knock on Rhodes. Might be another Ziggler.

Hornswaggle - No real change.

Rosa Mendes - Blank slate here.

Anyway, it's funny that the TNA-diots (a term of affection) still believe in their product as strongly as they do, even with the apparent loss in the new Monday Night War. What TNA lacks is a strong buzz star, which isn't to say they don't have wrestlers capable of providing that, but that they aren't champion. Nothing against AJ Styles or RVD, but they're more the kind of guys you'd want to appease existing wrestling fans than making new ones. Hey, guys, you've got Mr. Anderson, remember...? This would be a great time, now that he's firmly re-established, to give him what he was always denied in WWE. Maybe I'm just biased...

Still launching plans to take over the world via words. Revamped the Terror of Knowing collection, reworking a number of poems into single larger ones. Some comic book projects also look promising, at least as far as I consider them. But that's always the case. I'll continue updating with more specifics as they become relevant...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

#239. Reading List: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell


Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke,
is the latest book in my Reading List. The fourth of four epic-length books in a row, it concerns the fate of magic in a modern world, perhaps a commentary on the phenomenon of Harry Potter and how it became such a huge success, because everything we know now seems so far removed from our everyday lives (or is a cultish sub-set of individuals who are very much part of the same kind of trend that gives us "vampires" who feel compelled to drink blood...y'know, just because; the Goths). Looks like it's going to be very British and very awesome. I chose for the picture in this post to go with the edition I'll be reading, which I picked up as a bargain book at Borders shortly after I transferred to the Colorado Springs location I've been at since late 2007. Subsequent selections in the list aren't going to be so well-known, so appreciate your awareness while it lasts...

#238. Against the Day


Switched up the template of the blog and updated the links again, this time spotlighting all four poetry cycles, my book, and two websites where I can be regularly found. Didn't I recently have myspace, facebook, and twitter info there, too? Well, I guess that doesn't matter as much. I started this process because Blogger promised me easy access to Amazon, but couldn't find that. Still can't. Don't know why...

Finished up Thomas Pynchon's fantastic Against the Day, which ended up being an inspired choice to follow-up Roberto Bolano's equally ambitious 2666. Against the Day concerns the fortunes of the Traverse clan during the years mostly falling between the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and WWI, cleverly juxtaposing the frantic maneuvering of that age with our own, ambitions both stifled and explored in the face of massive change and upheaval, a world turned upside-down and hardly knowing what to do with itself. Oldest of the clan Frank becomes embroiled in the need to act as a surrogate patriarch after Webb Traverse is accused of being the day's most infamous anarchist and is summarily executed at the behest of tycoon Scarsdale Vibe. Reef is the one who takes up the charge of the father. Kit seeks to expand the family's fortunes. And Lake is the daughter left behind and with cruel irony, shack up with the man who pulled the trigger. Throughout the course of its 1,100 pages, the book makes you wonder what would happen if this family were around today. In many ways, our world is nothing like that one. In others, it's a wicked parallel. The anarchists of yesterday make a mockery of the terrorists we know today, rebelling against a growing stagnation rather than crudely reacting against it (perhaps, hence the title, "Against the Day"). Great men like Nikola Tesla are ignored in favor of capitalist progress, which does nothing to crush the innovative spirit that eventually sees emerging technology of yore surpass our wildest dreams in the darkest of corners...Anyway, this is a great book that truly needs to be discovered, from a master who should not be taken for granted, but there he is all the same, masked and anonymous...Pynchon is to novels as Grant Morrison is to comics, a pure imaginative spitfire who's difficult to appreciate but who is doing the most relevant and active work in literature today.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

#237. Modern Woe


I finally started the fourth web idylls, Modern Woe. Concurrently, I'll be working on a separate collection on my personal computer, The Alernative is a Chronicle. I also think I'll be fishing an earlier collection, The Jingle Jangle, around, in a new attempt to be a published poet of his own books. That'd be pretty awesome. But as "Modern Woe" (and ED) says, it's not just about recognition. Maybe I'm just crazy...

Monday, March 29, 2010

#236. WrestleMania 26, DVDs


WrestleMania 26 was last night, and there were a few surprises. Wasn't expecting Jack Swagger (was anyone?) to win Money in the Bank. Didn't expect the unified tag team match to be a glorified squash match (guess either John Morrison can forget his push or expect it postponed indefinitely), but at least it was on the card (I guess), plus a bonus divas match that has little consequence (like last year's). Jericho winning, Punk losing, both surprises. Good for Jericho, too bad for Punk. Hart Dynasty finally participating in the Hart/McMahon feud was nice. Orton over Dibiase & Rhodes and Triple H over Sheamus were somewhat surprising. Undertaker/HBK as the main event was a pretty awesome idea. This will probably be pretty interesting to watch when I get the DVD in May...

I did end up getting the Amazon shipment of Genesis and Elimination Chamber on Friday, which helped build my enthusiasm for last night (when I watched WrestleMania...21). I'm anticipating the DVD releases of Against All Odds and Destination X so I can continue to follow the remarkable early run of Mr. Anderson in TNA as well as track the development of the Hogan Era...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

#235. WrestleMania XXVI, Three Stooges Syndrome, Jennifer Moxley


This is going to be one of the larger WrestleMania cards in recent history:

Edge vs. Jericho
Cena vs. Batista
Hitman vs. McMahon
Triple H vs. Sheamus
HBK vs. Undertaker
Money in the Bank
CM Punk vs. Re Mysterio
ShowMiz vs. Morrison/Truth
Orton vs. Dibiase vs. Rhodes

as well as some possible divas match. Makes me worried that the tag team match will once again be relegated to "DVD bonus match," which is the last thing I'd like to see happen to John Morrison. Maybe the theoretical divas match will get the "honor." At any rate, with about a week to go now, I do think this is probably the best pound-for-pound WrestleMania card I've seen, no fat, even with just about everyone and their mother participating. So, congrats to that much.


I'll be getting Genesis and Elimination Chamber probably later this week, early next, so I'll get to have some feedback from the actual cards soon. Excited about that. Also seemed like a good time to finally pick up the Monday Night War DVD.


As far as my writing "career" goes, I think I've been in Three Stooges Syndrome, not really being able to put the full effort behind any one project because I've always had so many: trying to get poetry published, trying to get fiction published, trying to break into comics. Is it really any wonder that I haven't gotten any of these goals accomplished yet? Anyway, still plugging along...


Jennifer Moxley, an old English professor of mine from UMaine, either doesn't check her e-mail very often, or *sniff* has already forgotten about me...


That's all for now!

Friday, March 05, 2010

#234. WrestleMania XXVI Takes Shape


I'm liking how WrestleMania XXVI is shaping.

Edge vs. Chris Jericho
This one puts Jericho back in the main event, for the first time since 2002, when he became glorified fodder for Triple H's big return. It works for both wrestlers nicely.

John Cena vs. Batista
Again, it works for both wrestlers. Cena has never really had a match tailor-made for him at WrestleMania, not like Batista, whose match against Triple H in 2005 is a fine way to reflect on just how far both of these guys have gone in five years. This is a dream match, moreso than Cena-Orton.

Bret Hart vs. Mr. McMahan
Better than the ones McMahon has had with Hogan or HBK at WrestleMania, this one can potentially work really well for both, no matter what either is currently capable of doing in the ring. That it's happening at all is still ridiculously remarkable.

CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio
Love the fact that Punk is having his first solo match at WrestleMania. He's certainly earned it. Who better than Rey to compete against, right?

MizShow vs. John Morrison & R-Truth
This one won't technically be announced until tonight, but if this one actually gets on the actual WrestleMania card, I couldn't be happier for Morrison. Unless he somehow got a singles match. Maybe he slips into Money in the Bank, too, wins that, and gets a long-awaited heavyweight title shot?


Anyway, in non-wrestling thoughts, I think I'm finally pursuing a graduate degree. I've sent a feeler out to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS), so we'll see where that goes. It just be a huge answer for my personal life.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

#233. Survivor, Bret Hart, Against All Odds, Lower Decks


~Technology-addled 29 year old is befuddled by the digital converter box that makes it impossible to tape things like I used to. But my sister is taping "Heroes vs. Villains" from the new season of Survivor for me, so I can't complain too much. I hope my schedule starts working for me on Thursdays again, but I guess I can't complain that I get to watch Smackdown on Fridays in the meantime. Good time, too, since it still looks like John Morrison is finally primed to join the main event.

~Bret Hart, I've wanted to say for weeks now, looks today like his father Stu. I don't actually get to watch Raw, so it took me a number of appearances to finally latch on to that. So when does the Hart Dynasty get involved in this angle, anyway?

~Against All Odds on Sunday was another excellent TNA night for Mr. Anderson, even if he ended up losing the tournament to "The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero (Elijah Burke), who I previously raved about in my reaction to the live event I attended back in July of 2008. TNA is only getting better and better. Great time to make the transition to Mondays.

~Concerning my writing over at Lower Decks (which I rarely talk about here), my most recent HYGOTS column was the start of three weeks of DC essays, covering Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern. At the Observation Lounge (message board), I'm posting today the conclusion to a Star Trek/Captain Picard "biographical" short story, The Man Who Loved Earl Grey Tea (Hot), which follows on the heels of How To Advance Your Career Through Marriage (covering Wesley Crusher) and Tarkin, Republic and Empire (my first Star Wars fiction). I think Lower Decks is pretty much dead at this point, but it's still fun to hang out there, and those guys are the only people who really want me, whether they like it or not. It keeps me writing, anyway. The Mouldwarp link on the right features a list of other Star Trek stories I've written since 1999.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

#232. Finnegan, Genesis, Survivor Series


Just a couple of quick notes:

~Finnegan is awaiting agents and/or publishers, so that goose is still in the air.

~Hoping like mad that John Morrison is getting the push he so richly deserves. (You morons who honestly believe The Miz is at a better career position at this point can suck it.)

~Genesis (2010) is being released on DVD on March 23. Owned. I also got another TNA Cross the Line three-pack featuring some PPVs from 2008. Good time to be a wrestling fan. For me, anyway.

~WWE: Please continue releasing the Survivor Series anthologies. Still don't know why they weren't released all at once, or if the final two actually have been scheduled. But, dudes?

~Contemplating a fourth poetry blog.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

#231. Genesis 2010


TNA's Genesis card has got to hold the official unofficial title of the company's most important PPV. This year it featured Ken Anderson's debut and was also the first show after the big Hogan renaissance. I know a lot of wrestling fans don't appreciate Anderson, which has been compounded by his "injury-prone" recent past, but the guy's gold, and TNA was right to market his acquisition as a big deal. He's the rare wrestler who's sell when he needs to without exaggerating it. You'll believe he's getting pounded, but you don't have to believe that he's some kind of super dominant wrestler, either, when he mounts a comeback. He's more organic than the typical superstar, more natural, which is confusing when you consider how most of them work. Given a real chance, he's make, ah, the impact due him, and TNA is ready to give him that chance. Thank you, TNA.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

#230. New Monday Night War


1/4/2010 might go down as one of the most historic nights in wrestling history. Forget for a moment that it was "the return of the Monday Night Wars." Just having Hogan and Hart addressing TNA and WWE, respectively, was such a completely uncommon occurrence that either one would have been a story of the year, but to have both on the same night...It's like, can I have both shows on DVD already?

As it is, I thought 2009 was a good year to save on DVD, but if this is how 2010 stars, where the heck does it end? Is there anywhere left to go? Now, clearly, TNA was all about establishing a new direction, which was handled so much better than the endless attempts WCW made in its final years, but for WWE to devote an entire night to reflecting back (well, pretty much) is, quite frankly, unprecedented, certainly without the context of a recent death. Both companies tried to showcase the extent of their current offerings, and apparently provided at least one exceptional match each (but, sorry WWE, how were you going to top A.J. Styles/Kurt Angle?), making them worth the snapshot on just about every account. WWE is gearing up for its biggest show of the year, while TNA is, again, mounting an offensive on the wrestling zeitgeist. I expect an entire issue, at the very least, of Pro Wrestling Illustrated dedicated to the evening.

It was a gutsy move on WWE's part to hold the Sheamus/Cena rematch last week rather than last night, but having the new champion take on what was basically it's version of the typical TNA star was equally gutsy.

Seriously, it's suddenly a very good time to be a wrestling fan again.

Anyway, just wanted to make note of it...

Friday, January 01, 2010

#229. 2009 QBs, Finnegan


I've posted the 2009 QBs at Lower (link at right), my fourth annual look at the year in comics. The actual QB50 is in this week's HYGOTS column, but on Tuesday I posted a supplemental edition with a look at fifty additional comics. I thought it was a wickedly good year for the funny books.

The completion of that task required a balancing act that worked out nicely with the end run of Finnegan, which I finished early this morning. I spent two months, and wrote the equivalent of two and a third NaNos, which is why I'm still thankful to Chris Baty and that movement for getting me started and helping me write my first book, Cloak of Shrouded Men, which I hope to republish at some point in a slightly (more) corrected edition. I'm extremely pleased with Finnegan, which, combined with the Fall In Their Place blog poems collection and the outline for the twelve-issue Conformists comic, made 2009 an exceedingly fruitful year. I couldn't be happier about it, where it positions me in the future.


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