Friday, December 30, 2011

#334. DC Decades Project, Best of 2011 Movies, QB50, Reading List


Got a ton of stuff done in the last few days, including "DC40" at Sigild V, a Best Of for my dormant Examiner movie page, and the annual QB50 report at Comics Reader, for which I went to the not-inconsiderable trouble of tracking down links for the five previous editions.  I suffer for my art!

Oh!  And I've also got thoughts on the thirty-fourth book completed from my Reading List this year at Hub City.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

#333. Survivor


The second installment of the Comparative (f)Analysis is up, and features one of my favorite TV shows, Survivor, ranking each of its twenty-two winners, including "South Pacific"'s Sophie Clarke.  I surprisingly haven't talked a whole lot about Survivor in my blogs, but I've been a fan since 2000, and have sometimes been amused about the reactions others have, their opinions about the best contestants, and even the relative worth of some seasons.  My secret dream is to one day compete, and my even bigger secret is that I've sometimes considered the workplace as a Survivor setting.  I'd like to believe that I've proven at least in that environment that I could make it far.

Monday, December 26, 2011

#332. The Christmas Cat Poem


From my Facebook page, the Christmas Cat poem:

Gather around, those who've sat,
And I shall tell you about the Christmas Cat!

On Christmas Day,
For this holiday,
A creature stirs
Who also purrs.

She wakes from her sleep,
From the warm fuzzy deep,
On a long winter's night
When she has slept tight

To ensure that all have done well
And that she can still spell
All the letters that entail
What she put in the mail

About the report on the order
Of all that goes on in the border
Of her most important domain,
On the great night of gain.

She has inventoried in her rest
The gifts in the nest
Of those she calls friends;
Except, it depends

For one small matter,
Aside from the platter
Of cookies for Santa at night,
Since try as she might

She cannot overlook
Under any book,
The gift of clothing!
Perhaps even bling!

Because if you don't receive a single ounce,
The Christmas Cat will surely pounce!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

#331. New Job, Seven Thunders


Ought to note that a long personal nightmare has ended: I have finally found a new job!

Perhaps owing to that little bit of good news, I have also made the first official outline for a story I've been working on since 1997.  Perhaps soon, then, the world will hear the tale of Seven Thunders...

Friday, December 16, 2011

#330. Comparative (f)Analysis


Finally have new material up at Fan Companion!  It's the start of the "Comparative (f)Analysis," a series that will look at a number of different interests.  The inaugural edition features the annual TV Guide Fall Preview, years 1997-2003.  Hopefully proves interesting...

#329. Best of 2011


Best of 2011...

Stone Rollin', Raphael Saadig
So Beautiful or So What, Paul Simon
Mylo Xyloto, Coldplay
Wounded Rhymes, Lykke Li

Before I Go to Sleep, S.J. Watson
The Bridge to Never Land, Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson

How I Met Your Mother
The Big Bang Theory
Survivor: Redemption Island
Survivor: South Pacific
The Cape
The Event
The Walking Dead
Cougar Town
Raising Hope
Person of Interest
Mad Love
The Simpsons

Source Code
The Tree of Life
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
Green Lantern
Midnight in Paris
The Adjustment Bureau
Super 8
Cowboys and Aliens

Thursday, December 15, 2011

#328. DC Decades Project


Superheroes will be dominating Sigild V for the foreseeable future.  On the heels of the Trial project, I've now begun the DC Decades Project, which seeks to adapt from DC Comics Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle each decade of actual comics developments as a cohesive story.

I've also got a new Quarter Bin column up at Comics Reader.

Monday, December 12, 2011

#327. Comics Reader, Sigild V Cleanup


Just for the record, the sprucing continues:

I just spent a considerable amount of time labeling key archival posts here at Scouring Monk, but I would have to change the blog's template in order to show a list of that's an idea for the future.  I have, however, completed overhauls at Comics Reader and Sigild V to make navigation easier.  Yay!

#326. Hub City Cleanup


Hub City is the latest blog in my little family to receive a little tweaking.  I've just added a new label identifying critical analysis on the book I've just completed from the Reading List.  There are now three labels, actually, "Thoughts on..." (the one I've just introduced), "Reading List" (otherwise known as a running catalog of the books I'm reading, and something I previously did here at Scouring Monk), and "Scouring Books," which is a straight listing of books from my personal library.  On the surface, "Scouring Books" entries and "Reading List" may look remarkably similar, but "Reading List" will now have the added distinction of a subsequent "Thoughts on..." entry, should I have sufficient reactions to what I've just finished reading.  There are 11 "Reading List" entries to date, and only 4 "Thoughts on..." essays, starting from October, and many more "Scouring Books."

...Y'know, just in case you were interested...

Friday, December 09, 2011

#326. Caretaker Part 2


Just posted Star Trek: Voyager - "Caretaker, Part 2," a monologue from Captain Janeway that helps explain her decisions in the series finale "Endgame" from a perspective that points back to the series premiere ("Caretaker," naturally).  I was always a bigger fan of the series than Star Trek fans in general tended to be, and so have always sought some way to express the kind of quality I saw in it that others didn't. 

I'll probably get to do more of that.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

#324. Fan Companion Cleanup


Finally cleaned up the Fan Companion blog, making it easier to navigate, especially between focuses (Star Trek, films, and wrestling, to date).  All in anticipation of the forthcoming Comparative (f)Analysis!

#323. Trial of the Flash Project


Today I completed the Trial of the Flash project, including the six-part adaptation written for Sigild V, which in part follows the classic 1980s comics story that ran for two years and was recently reprinted in a twenty-four issue Showcase reprint volume, but also represents an alternate version from a modern perspective, including using Wally West as narrator and acknowledging the Crisis on Infinite Earths events that follow.  The Barry Allen found here owes a debt to Geoff Johns, too, and not just from the "flashpoint" in the title.  The sad part is, though I drastically reduced the length of the story, I now kind of want to expand it...

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

#322. Trial of the Flash, Comics, John Morrison


My Trial of the Flash project continues (neatly compiled here), providing Sigild V with storytelling material while I prepare the next project, an ambitious attempt to consolidate DC history by each decade into cohesive narratives.

Comics Reader also continues to feature new material, including more individual issue comments (with RASL, Comic Book Comics, and Justice League joining the excitement), another look at the Green Lantern movie, and regular installments of the blog, such as a Quarter Bin column that has a look at Grant Morrison and Mark Millar's Aztek: The Ultimate Man, plus a note about a collection of adaptations from Edgar Allan Poe short stories.

Hub City continues to showcase selections from my personal library, now featuring more Willie Mays and Bill Clinton!


John Morrison was officially released by WWE last week, and has yet to announce his future plans.  Much has been made of the belief that Morrison basically brought this upon himself by becoming stagnant, refusing to develop his character, failing to become a presence on the mic, but I believe that WWE found it difficult to promote him after several years of presenting him as one of its best wrestlers and failing to actually do anything meaningful with his career, preferring instead to put the spotlight on wrestlers who could more easily produce storylines.  His critics fail to appreciate that John is hardly the first wrestler to fall into this trap, though it's funny that he should be the first one since Chris Benoit's murder/suicide to suffer from this tendency to overlook the best wrestlers in favor of the biggest personalities, because he isn't some mat technician, he's someone with an incredible amount of flare in his repertoire.

What's ironic is that WWE is choosing to promote someone like Zack Ryder as someone who's been "held back," when Ryder has never even approached Morrison's abilities or charisma.  Cheap catchphrases and an Internet show can get you attention, but it won't make your career.  The very things they love about you now will be the things they ridicule tomorrow (and here I count "they" as WWE management and fans).

John Morrison is bankable talent.  WWE's problem is that it took him for granted for too long.  Can you say Chris Jericho?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

#321. Comics Reader


Buncha new stuff to read at Comics Reader to round out November, including individual thoughts on some new comics I've read, plus a feature on some freebies I've gotten lately.

Monday, November 28, 2011

#320. Trial of the Flash, Jabroni Companion, Your Face Tomorrow


One of my current blog projects actually ties two of the branches together, a reimagining of the 1980s Trial of the Flash I'm writing at Sigild V that I wrote about at Comics Reader thanks to a recent Showcase reprint volume.  (This update confirms what I wrote last time, for the record.  Everything proceeded to plan.)

I'm officially quitting the Jabroni Companion at Fan Companion in favor of a new "Comparative fAnalysis" that'll take closer looks at several different topics.  Should launch fairly soon.

Hub City continues to feature the Reading List, which will finally advance past Javier Marias' masterful Your Face Tomorrow, which I've included commentary on in a series of essays, if you were interested in that.

Last week was Thanksgiving/Black "Friday," as you know, so I had a little more family time with my sister than usual, and I went on three interviews earlier in the week.  That accounts for the lack of activity in the Scouring family, in case you were wondering.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

#319. Yoshimi, Trial of the Flash


The big news is that I did finish the first draft of Yoshimi this week and have now sent it off to the fine editors at HBE.

Earlier today I posted a new Quarter Bin column at Comics Reader, and hope to have another feature up tomorrow on the classic "Trial of the Flash" storyline from the '80s, which I'm also planning to adapt for Sigild V.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

#318. Cornell Womack


Just want to note actor Cornell Womack, who appeared in this week's Criminal Minds episode "No Place Like Home" as the medical examiner Cranston.  It was a relatively small role and he was mostly out of focus in the background, but clearly this guy has presence (he's been in The Happening and State of Play, has appeared in several versions of Law & Order and has a recurring role in Rescue Me).  He sounds a ton like Orson Welles, and spent most of his time in the Criminal Minds episode eating a sandwich.  It just seems like this is at the very least a character actor just begging to be discovered and given greater exposure, and that's exactly what he was thinking during the scene.

Anyway, so here noted...Cornell Womack, an actor just waiting to be noticed.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

#317. Yoshimi, Comic Books, Your Face Tomorrow, Jabroni Companion


I've slowed a little, recently, working around my Mouldwarp family of blogs, but I'm always the scouring kind.  I've been working at the conclusion of Yoshimi (hopefully to be first-draft-finished by the end of next week), so I'll use that as my excuse.

Sigild V did recently see my "Occupy Wall Street" story completed in five acts, and there has been a little bit of interest from readers, probably more or on par with my most popular writing to date in that forum.

Comics Reader has easily seen the most activity in recent weeks, with some feverish manipulation of my regular schedule, so that it has sometimes been possible to read the regular Reader column and the Quarter Bin column in the same week, plus some specials like another look at Green Lantern, and shout-out to Karl Kesel's web activities, and an earlier review of the graphic novel Dear Creature.  Most recently I've talked about Grant Morrison's inspirations from the Black Casebook trade collection, and will very soon be talking about the 1980s trial of Barry Allen.

Hub City hasn't really caught on with readers, but I'm continuing to plug away at it, listing books from my personal library, the Reading List, and thoughts on Your Face Tomorrow, the latest of some modern literary classics I wish everyone were aware of.

Fan Companion continues, still discussing professional wrestling.  Readership on this blog has slowed considerably.  I'm not sure if it's because of the wrestling talk or what, but I did have for an extended period some lightly feverish reading of my Star Trek fan thoughts, which launched the blog last year, while the Film Fan was a fairly successful follow-up.  I guess I'll wait and see about this one.

I'm not sure if it's because I made a Google profile recently or not, but I've had some huge spikes of interest here at Scouring Monk, the most of all the blogs, which hasn't exactly translated to business throughout the whole family.  I guess that's another thing I'll just have to accept.

Monday, November 07, 2011

#316. Occupy Wall Street


I've concluded my "Occupy Wall Street" story at Sigild V, rounding out a look at four representative figures of the movement from a literary standpoint, plus an investigator's impressions following the central assassination event.

I myself have not attended any OWS-type rallies or gatherings, but being unemployed since the end of Borders and enjoying unemployment so thoroughly, I can certainly sympathize with those frustrated to an apparent breaking point with the economic situation in America (and elsewhere), who feel they've been overlooked, ignored, and marginalized by those in power, both in government and the general job market.  No, Americans are not generally considered among the most impoverished and disadvantaged peoples, and perhaps it's for that very reason that those who represent us should insist on the highest quality of fair play among the citizens, so that everyone has an equal chance to succeed without fear of unreasonable restrictions and artificial limitations that harass development and potential, so that even those immediately qualified to succeed at a basic level are denied their ability to make a living in a manner of their choosing.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

#315. Flawless Kitty Logic Returns


Flawless Kitty Logic
When considering possible solutions to a problem,
probable outcomes are not a necessary factor.  So,
stealing a toy blaster to battle invading ants
does not require any thought to said blaster's
effectiveness, nor the ultimate fate of blaster.
It's the thought that counts!

Monday, October 31, 2011

#314. Halloween


Happy Halloween!  I am seriously writing this in a Starfleet (circa TNG) costume I originally wore in grade school.  It still (mostly) fits.  But it's not the most comfortable thing in the world.  I hope the chitlens appreciate it later.

(For the record, I did grow considerably since grade school.  I suspect it may have been fairly large originally.  Or it stretches a lot.)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

#313. Tie


So, a week of some setbacks did produce one glowing victory:

I tied my first tie.

In the words of the late Harvey Pekar, "Today I am a man!"

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

#311. Hub City, Occupy Wall Street, Jabroni Companion, Flashpoint, Message Boards, Good Reads


Just some quick updates about current activity around my family of blogs...

Hub City continues to host the Reading List, recently featuring Dave Barry, Roberto Bolano, and Javier Marias's Your Face Tomorrow

Sigild has begun a special Occupy Wall Street series, a literary look at some of the influences that have brought that group/movement together.

Fan Companion continues to talk professional wrestling, with recent topics revisiting the Nexus and JBL (a "Wrestling God").

Comics Reader just looked at a completely different Flashpoint mini-series.

I've also recently begun posting at the WrestleView message boards, and continue to visit the Comic Book Resources forums, to the possible regret of some members. 

Also, got a Good Reads profile, maybe establish my writerly credentials a little.

Also, debuted Flawless Kitty Logic here at Scouring Monk a few days ago, which will probably reappear.  Because cats possess flawless kitty logic!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

#310. Lost Hangover


This has been a pretty interesting year for the creators of Lost.  Damon Lindelof was involved in Cowboys & Aliens, which in some ways might be considered his own interpretation of what that series might have been.  J.J. Abrams delivered Super 8, which again shared similar themes.

Now we have ABC's Once Upon a Time from Eddie Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, and it happens to feature a girl who had to give her special child up for adoption.  Hey, I'm just sayin'...If you think this one's just about fairy tales, definitely pay attention to the Kitsis/Horowitz/Lost connection.  It's more relevant than you might think.  The pilot episode is a little slow to start off, but it definitely builds, which is interesting.  I have to imagine, given this pattern, that the show will probably be pretty good overall.  We'll see.

#309. Flawless Kitty Logic


Flawless Kitty Logic:

With a convincing performance in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series, Albert Pujols guarantees victory for the St. Louis Cardinals, with whom he'll be happy to resign. And Mark McGwire will no longer be a black sheep in baseball. Also, something about rally squirrels distracting pesky dogs permanently.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

#308. Bobby Roode


Just wanted to comment on the new TNA champion.

Since Sunday I've heard bitching and moaning over the fact that Bobby Roode didn't beat Kurt Angle at Bound for Glory. It was absurd, because 1) there was really no reason for it and 2) Roode probably wasn't the guy to win that match.

So tonight on Impact Wrestling the right man won, and that would be James Storm.

Let me just acknowledge, too, that Angle probably should have won, one way or another, at BFG, simply for his appearance in this year's best movie, Warrior, the story of two brothers who compete in a massive MMA tournament, which Angle's character is favored to win, being the fearsome Russian Koba (Kurt has no real lines in the movie, for the record).

In using a tag team like Beer Money during a time when audiences and fans should be remembering Angle in Warrior (I say should because very few people have seen it, and even critics have been douchebags about it), TNA was far more ingenious than anyone is ready to admit.

Throughout the tournament the company held for the championship opportunity at BFG, TNA seemed to be going any number of ways with the winner, before settling on Roode and Storm in the finals. This ostensibly set Roode up to be the man, the homegrown hero TNA fans could cheer. When he lost on Sunday, some fans felt cheated (TNA "fans" and wrestling fans in general who like to feel cheated).

So to pull the trigger less than a week later on his partner, who frankly has more charisma, is a pretty awesome irony.

As for how long and how far Storm can go, only the future knows.

(For the record, my sister, who is a casual viewer and didn't really know any of this, she thought Storm's win was unimpressive, and considers him a Stone Cold knockoff.)

Storm's superkick-out-of-nowhere, by the way, is very appropriate for anything with a Warrior shine on it.

(Seriously, watch Warrior!)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

#307. Spider-Man, Dear Creature, John Morrison


Just some quick notes:

Completing my Sigild Spider-Man saga, Just Imagine Tony Creating...The Amazing Spider-Man is what I might have done with a fourth Raimi-verse film (and has no judgment intended concerning the upcoming reboot).

At Comics Reader, I reviewed Dear Creature, at the prompting of creator Jonathan Case. I haven't done one of these prompted write-ups since the the Paperback Reader days. It felt good, especially for the Comics Reader blog.

In wrestling thoughts, I wonder if John Morrison is just getting the brush-off from his contract expiring soon, or if he's in the midst of a major new push. On Monday, he looked like a modern Bret Hart. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

#306. Hub City, Yoshimi, TV, Wrestling, New 52


Hub City is humming along nicely (new addition to the Reading List up today, for those keeping score). Maybe it's insane to try and maintain a billion separate blogs, but so far it seems to be working. Probably doesn't hurt that I'm also looking for a job at the moment.

I'm also spending some of that time working on Yoshimi, including three days of 10,000 words each, which is pretty remarkable, considering I could sometimes struggle to fill my old pace of 1,667 (NaNoWriMo), and scramble like mad when needing to catch up for several days. Well, I guess the more experience I get writing, the more I can write in a single day. Yay for progress!

The new TV season has been a little interesting on my end. I've been staying with my sister since Borders bit the silver bullet, so some of my habits have changed. I haven't watched many of the new shows (Person of Interest being the one I was always most keenly interested in, conveniently enough). I also haven't really had an opportunity to watch Raising Hope or Community, either, the latter because it plays at the same time as The Big Bang Theory, which is something of a family obsession. That also means I haven't seen The New Girl yet, even though that's another new one I'm keen to see.

I watch How I Met Your Mother on Mondays, plus WWE Raw, The Biggest Loser, NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles on Tuesdays, Survivor (down with Hanz family! up with Mustache Rick!) and Criminal Minds on Wednesdays, TBBT and as much TNA Impact as I can on Thursdays, WWE Smackdown and Fringe on Fridays, and then The Amazing Race on Sundays.

I haven't seen Terra Nova yet, for any number of reasons. I still think I'd enjoy it, but part of me looks at previews for the newer episodes and sees Earth 2 kind of written all over it. That's not necessarily a bad thing, mind you.

Haven't seen a movie since the terrific Warrior. wonders when I'll see something else. I wonder when will pay more than a few cents into my account.

The whole walkout thing on Raw this past Monday is certainly interesting. It's a direct extension of what CM Punk made possible a couple of months ago (quite frankly), but his presence is a little on the backburner at the moment. Maybe that'll change soon.

Jeff Hardy's return to TNA will certainly prove interesting. Will people actually give him a chance? Wisely, TNA is making his return all about that. I expect Bobby Roode to beat Kurt Angle at Bound for Glory, but I wish the company had a different homegrown star they could be elevating for the first time. The whole card looks pretty spectacular, even the "fight" between Sting and Hogan. TNA has done a pretty good job in recent months making things that work for them actually work for them. Hopefully they will get over that hump and be accepted as a legitimate rival to WWE by the wider wrestling community.

ROH, meanwhile, also looks like it's doing the right things with its new TV deal, even if it's making wrestling observers question them by pushing Haas & Benjamin as one of their most visible components. You'd think those fans would be happy, because the World's Greatest Tag Team is finally getting the respect they deserve, from a company that can really appreciate them. But we are talking wrestling fans here...

My enjoyment of DC's New 52 has been handicapped by not technically making money, so I haven't been able to keep up with all the comics I'd like to. That and Heroes & Dragons apparently doesn't see the wisdom in stocking the hot new relaunch they themselves are promoting in their store. If I were at the other end of Colorado Springs right now, the situation would be different, at least halfway. Escape Velocity is doing its best to keep up. Well, I'm going to try on Wednesday at Heroes to catch James Robinson's The Shade #1. Wish me luck...

Monday, October 03, 2011

#305. Hub City


Okay, so I've begun another spin-off blog, Hub City, all about my love of books, which will now house my Reading List, which has been a feature of Scouring Monk for the past few years. Like Comics Reader, it also features a strong link to, including my new Austen Paradise bookstore, which is located at the bottom of the page. The origin of Austen Paradise is a long and complicated one, just something that started to dawn on me the longer I worked at Borders. I read Pride & Prejudice in college, and then just a few months earlier Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, so I knew of Jane Austen's rich skills as a writer, and her enduring appeal in the world of literature. But I began noticing just how many books Borders had that had been directly inspired by her writing, spin-off that imagined what happened next, or delved deeper into characters like Mr. Darcy (on whose legacy the career of Colin Firth continues to rest, Oscar or no). I dreamed of opening a physical bookstore where I could sell these books directly, which gave birth to a wider idea of a store that catered to literary tastes, the idea behind the name "Hub City" itself (comics readers will known The Question called that place home). The blog and the online storefront, then, are my first steps toward making that dream a reality. Hopefully there are readers out there who find merit in all of this...

#304. Comics Reader, Fan Companion, Sigild V


Last Friday I revamped the functionality of my three spin-off blogs, Comics Reader, Fan Companion, and Sigild V. I made it slightly easier to navigate each of them, including lists of the most-read posts (which was especially relevant to Fan Companion. Comics Reader, additionally, now sports some direct links, showcasing some of my favorite graphic novels, ones I've talked directly about on the blog, in the hopes of driving sales and establishing it as a destination for serious fans.

I haven't exactly lit the Interweb on fire with the traffic my blogs have attracted, but without any considerable advertising, they have still managed to attract a steady stream of readers, which is certainly something I'm proud about, and extremely thankful to those who've taken the time to check out what I've written. The Fan Companion is the oldest spin-off, now a year old, while I've been maintaining each of them throughout 2011 on a regular basis.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

#303. Sigild V, Comics Reader, Jabroni Companion, Warrior


Some of the recent activity from around my blogs and somesuch:

Just Imagine Tony Creating...Spider-Man 3 from the Sigild V short story blog. This one's the conclusion of three entries that feature a version of what I would've done with the three Sam Raimi movies, given the same general premises but with an increasingly divergent result. The first is basically an origin story that only brings Peter to becoming Spider-Man at the end. The second retains Dr. Octopus but continues the themes and plots from the first installment as well. This conclusion brings Green Goblin back as the primary foe, includes the famous death of Gwen Stacy, and suggests a possible continuation with Kraven the Hunter.

Stars be my destiny from the Comics Reader blog. This is my ode to James Robinson's Starman, maybe a decade and a half late. The link helps explain why.

Jabroni Companion #22 from the Fan Companion blog. Here I continue my series talking about professional wrestlers (topics this time include AJ Styles, Brock Lesnar, Booker T, Scott Steiner, Lex Luger, and Too Cool). In the past, as readers are apparently continually rediscovering, I've written about Star Trek, as well as movies. Which leads us to:

Warrior is the best movie of the year, my latest article for Examiner. As you can tell, I really liked the movie. Over at my Facebook account, A.C. Hall, from the world-famous Hall Bros. Entertainment, publishers of my upcoming book Yoshimi, chimed in and agreed with my modest assessment. Not too bad!

#302. Reading List: Douglas Adams's Starship Titanic


Finished Bright Shiny Morning pretty quickly. James Frey is a great writer. Not sure I would actually want to hang out with him, though. Who knows?

Next on the Reading List:

Douglas Adams's Starship Titanic by Terry Jones. I obsessed over this book for years, scouring used book shops and having absolutely no luck, having passed on its original publishing in 1997. Regular bookstores don't carry it, naturally (which always baffled me). Finally found it at Poor Richards in Colorado Springs last year, and now am finally going to read it. (!!!)

Friday, September 23, 2011

#301. Reading List: Bright Shiny Morning


Just submitted a story to a Glimmer Train contest. One slight problem here is that I submitted the same story to Hall Bros. Hopefully everything'll sort itself out...

Next on the Reading List:

Bright Shiny Morning from James Frey, a writer who was publically hosed by Oprah a few years back. This book was his comeback, and notably did not receive near as much attention as the inciting material, which is a real shame, because true literary fiction deserves to have trumpets heralding its arrival. It appears this really is one of those works.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

#300. Reading List: Star Trek


Good news! I've been blogging here at Scouring Monk for a decade, and have just reached three hundred posts!

In slightly less pathetic news, I've got a new book in the Reading List:

Star Trek novelization by Alan Dean Foster. Back in 2005, I would have been devastated to learn that the next Star Trek movie would be a reboot. I did and still do love the Star Trek franchise with about as much totality as you can get (onscreen version, anyway), as readers who keep digging up the the Fan Companion at said blog can attest. I originally posted a season-by-season, series-by-series, film-by-film review of the franchise last year, but I keep getting hits. I don't mind! Anyway, when I learned that J.J. Abrams, genius behind Alias, Lost, and Fringe, not to mention Super 8 and Cloverfield, would be helming it, my apprehension quickly turned to enthusiasm. I wasn't disappointed. So it's another nice little diversion to read this novelization, too.

This past Wednesday was my last-ever day working for Borders. I purchased The Beaufort Diaries and Charles Simic's Master of Disguises, the last things I'll ever buy from the store. (I bought too much from the liquidation process, but these were only a dollar each!) So long, valiant crew and faithful customers of Borders 500 in Colorado Springs!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

#299. Reading List: Heidegger & a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates, The Dark Knight


The Reading List continues:

Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, a stroll through philosophical ideas about life, the universe, and everything. Loved the jokes!

The Dark Knight novelization by Dennis O'Neil. The movie was instantly one of my all-time favorite movies. I don't expect O'Neil's book to quite reach a comparable level, but it's always fun to read these things (not that I do it that often).

The John Adams book, meanwhile, was pretty interesting, a nice little consolidation of American history from around his lifetime and times, if a little dry on analysis. I'd call him an inconvenient pragmatist!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

#298. Fan Musings, CM Punk, Finnegan


I realize I have a whole blog dedicated to fan musings, currently set directly at pro wrestling, but I figure I can still indulge a thought or two here at the main blog...

Picked up the Money in the Bank PPV last weekend, this year's stellar CM Punk renaissance event, but was actually more impressed at how much Randy Orton has been flourishing at reinventing himself on Smackdown. I'm one of those weird people you seldom hear about, I don't have cable, so, as with wrestling in general, I haven't seen Smackdown since it went off free TV (and doesn't it figure? ROH will be available in Maine, where I lived for the first quarter century of my life, but not here in Colorado). That's good news, because he was incredibly stale last year, even as WWE champion during the height of the Nexas angle (which again was just weird).

Also, had a chance to resubmit Finnegan to McSweeney's with the revisions I did earlier this year. Hopefully good things will come of it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

#297. Reading List: John Adams - Party of One


Chip Kidd's The Learners turned out to be surprisingly good, even if it did read like a movie that might've been released at the time the book was set. I made a lot of enemies in college writing classes identitying the source of their writing styles, which invariably had more to do with screen material than the printed page...

Anyway, next on the Reading List: John Adams: Party of One by James Grant, not one of the better-known Adams biographies, but one of the happy discoveries in the Borders bargain section from some years ago (of course, every Borders store is now a bargain section, given the ongoing liquidation process). I will fully admit that I've found more satisfaction in bargain hunting at Barnes & Noble than I did at Borders, where I've worked for the past five years. B&N used to have a better literature section, but apparently that was an easy thing to slim down in recent years (will only hurt you in the long run, Barnes, baby). Borders has better supported the late Roberto Bolano (author of the great 2666), which is a distinction I am quite proud of, not to mention Javier Marias (the Your Face Tomorrow trilogy), though not quite to the same degree. Anyway, Adams has been a favorite of mine since I started learning more about him in college, including his defense of the guilty British party in the "Boston Massacre." I've taken to reading these books on my long walks to work, which has been working surprisingly well.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

#296. Reading List: The Learners


The Reading List continues:

The Learners by Chip Kidd. Honestly, I don't know about this one. The acclaimed graphic designer is obviously not as well known as a writer, but this is his second book. At the time I bought it, I almost picked up his first book, Cheese Monkeys. Now I'm kind of glad I didn't, because what I've read so far is fairly amateurish, at least in style. I have faith it'll get better. We'll see.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, meanwhile, really was a pleasure to read. Seth Grahame-Smith really seems to have understood Austen's social commentary (which is one of the reasons I'll trust this mash-up, but not the legions that followed), the prejudices, as it were, of high society that were not only ridiculous, but hard to navigate for young lovers. The zombies are slipped in as just another layer of how these uppercrusters compete, with the Bennets "only" receiving their formal training in China, rather than Japan, where of course one would have preferred to go, given adequate funds. Otehr than the infrequent zombie mayhem, though, it's pretty much exactly Austen's original book, which I read in college, but that was maybe a decade ago at this point, so I would probably have to read it again today to see just how much fiddling Grahame-Smith actually did. I stand by my assertion that at least this mash-up was brilliant, a suspicion I've held since i first saw it (before *ahem* the craze began).

My idea for a mash-up? The Great Gatsby and Gargoyles. Feel free to pay me to do it.

Monday, August 01, 2011

#295. Reading List: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies


Next on the Reading List:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, the first of a series of literary mash-ups that might be one of the cleverest ways modern publishing has found to trick readers into rediscovering the classics. Where teachers and reading guides and websites can certainly tell you what these books originally accomplished, representing them in new and interesting ways is a step in expanding the current horizons of those who can't help but giggle at the otherwise absurd proposition set before them. That is to say, aside from the fact that P&P&Z quickly led to an avalanche of curiously derivative knockoffs, thereby potentially weakening its impact, there's much to say about the unexpected twist our increasingly irreverent world has now afforded jaded readers, like Mystery Science Theater 3000 but with a less cynical outlook (seriously, this show became popular by filming wisecracks to old movies?).

In other other words, it's a fun diversion at the very least, and an odd twist on the latest trend in the List.

Speaking of which, Looking Backward was certainly interesting to a point, but Bellamy was obviously not much of a literary talent. He spends most of the book cataloguing in precise detail a future reality he doesn't in the end explore all that much. It's like watching C-SPAN, I guess, or a talking head documentary, for those who can't stand watching just watching people talk. There's a good reason this book was basically forgotten. It had good intentions, but even its ideas of good ideas sound ridiculous, even a decade after the year it became clear Bellamy's predictions - or hopes - obviously didn't come true. Did anyone seriously order a sequel to the Gilded Age? If anything, someone could write a literary mash-up of this one, make it suck less, and hopefully inspire everyone all over again...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

#294. The Closing of Borders


The Closing of Borders, or Retroactive Rules for Staying Open

So, apart from plain lousy business decisions and a poor economy, here's a few lessons that may be learned from Borders, which I'm still working for, going bankrupt and into liquidation:

1. If you have better customer service, make sure that message is broadcast loud and clear. Borders went out of its way to help customers. It had terminals available for customer use all over the place, associates whose first mission was to help those customers, and a rewards program that really rewarded, coupons and discounts that were always greater than 10%. This is the exact opposite of Barnes & Noble. Yet Borders had a smaller market awareness, and rarely advertised, at least effectively.

2. When there's a huge craze that brings droves of customers into your store, make them repeat customers. Harry Potter, the Millennium Trilogy, The Da Vinci Code, the Twilight Saga...These are the big ones, and yet, the only response every time was to have these books...available. These were rabid fans of unusual stories. You don't rely on publishers finding similar authors who then line homogeneous bookshelves, you build a relationship and awareness of the many other books awaiting those readers. You help them believe that there's plenty more to read. Yes, there are significant crazes, and outside of those many people will stay away from bookstores (or book outlets), but if you can retain a significant fraction of the millions of readers who routinely make themselves obvious, you have a far better industry on your hands. More people watch movies, TV, even YouTube videos than read books. Isn't that shame enough?

3. Make your product available for the audiences who don't typically think of you. As kids in grade school, book fairs are a regular occurrence. Yet exactly at the age when those same readers are considering what to do with the rest of their lives, books seem to almost completely disappear behind school assignments and expanded social obligations. Bookstores can help with this kind of problem by making their products available to these readers, the ones who might still like to read, but not in the way, or with the books, their teachers are pushing on them. Where now you have those same readers succumbing to the latest juvenile "humor" selection (I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, Go the Fuck to Sleep, which is for parents-who-shouldn't-be-parents, and therefore possibly exactly the same audience I'm talking about), you could be introducing them to the latest and finest literary treasure, which is quickly vanishing from American culture. Women's reading groups should not be the largest proponent of reading. They will glom onto dreck like The Help (A.K.A. Gone with the Wind 2.0).

4. For the love of god, fill your stores with employees who actually read for their own pleasure. You might have more customers who are willing to do the same.

5. Probably wouldn't hurt, either, for those same employees to be interested in their jobs. Just sayin'.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

#293. Reading List: Looking Backward


Next up on my Reading List:

Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, an overlooked 19th century gem that covers, as the rest of the title suggests, from 2000 to 1887. Bellamy was a social activist whose particular utopia was nationalist/socialist, who otherwise believed the Gilded Age was a far cry from perfection, and so he went about imagining what a better future would look like. The central figure out the book pulls a Futurama and winds up in Boston of the year 2000. Bellamy's ideals ensue.

The link and cover shot for this book come from Amazon for the first time in a while, since as you might have heard, Borders is going out of business, and so there's very point in attempting any further links to its website, since god knows how much longer it'll be running. As a current employee in one of its Colorado Springs locations, I'm pretty sad to see the company go, but all things must end, good or bad.

I would like to add a few more words about Crime and Punishment, which I might actually think really is better than Brothers Karamazov, which after all became one of my favorite books when I read it five years ago. Raskolnikov offers a distinctly modern perspective in 19th century Russia about the human condition, the concerns and possibilities that trouble and enoble life. He may consider himself a Napoleon, but we would all be better off if we held such lofty ideals, if we all strove to be our most perfect selves. Raskolnikov's biggest flaw is his inability to believe in himself, which is reflected in Dostoyevki's deliberate method of withholding his main character's motives until deep into the novel. What is the reader to think of the character that the character himself doesn't? We learn about him by accident, just as his experiences throughout the story are a series of accidents. There's a lot of Lost in this book. No wonder Ben liked this author so much.

Anyway, I'm not a student, either, so I don't need to write too much analysis, whether arbitrary, cursory, or pointed.

Friday, July 15, 2011

#292. Hedging on Examiner


Still reading Crime and Punishment. Believe it or not, but I'm thinking of writing some actual analysis or commentary, which is something I rarely do here. Could be interesting.

I may or may not quit writing movie reviews for Examiner. They do a good job of obscuring the fact that you probably aren't going to actually earn much of anything, unless you're doing stories that aren't exactly what they advertize for in their wanted ads. Still, had a lot of fun writing some extended reviews, though I seemed to have more interest in the Film Fan blog when I wrote extremely condensed takes of movies. Do people really like it better when they have to read less about something? Possibly...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

#291. Finnegan, Ecce Homo


A couple weeks back, I sent Finnegan off to another publisher. Today, I sent Ecce Homo to its first potential home. I say, wouldn't it be nice if potential writers had a tad more secure network on which to support themselves...?

Friday, June 17, 2011

#290. Before I Go To Sleep


I don't usually do this, but I want to mention the other book I'm reading, an advanced reader of Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson. I'm always reading something while on break at work, and my selections from the advanced reader pool often seem to be psychological narratives. The Illumination and The Unnamed were other books in this vein, but neither really compare to this one. Ridley Scott has already optioned it as a film, if that means as much to you as it does to me. The only downside is that I suspect it's been helping me feel more depressed than usual, since the main character is stuck in an even more literal rut than I am, memory issues of the kind those who enjoyed Christopher Nolan's Memento or Shutter Island, either the book or the film (both are recommended), might appreciate...

Thursday, June 09, 2011

#289. Reading List: Crime and Punishment


I love the idea of "summer reading." Is that meant to imply that you should be reading something different during these months, or that you should be reading, as if this is the only time you should bother doing so? This next item on the Reading List came up by sheer coincidence, but still serves as a sharp contrast to the expected...

Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky, whom I last read (Brothers Karamazov) in 2006, so I've been relishing this moment for five years (yeesh! didn't seem so long until I laid it out plain!). Just goes to show that good things don't have to come all at once, or that, as I have hopefully proven at least to myself in that time, that there are many other equally fine pieces of literature, and writers, available. And so again, I wonder why so many people have such a hard time finding things to read (as I'm sure I've remarked in the past, I work in a bookstore, so I know), or why so damned many English teachers have fucked books so badly. YOU CANNOT TEACH THE CREATIVE ARTS BY ROTE. Okay, so maybe a little of that does work with, say, music or art, but as books go, you simply cannot force them, or your interpretations, down the throats of your students, or they will hate more than relish the experience. Don't you see how that is a bad thing? crime and punishment indeed...

Friday, May 27, 2011

#288. Examiner


I've been writing movies reviews for Examiner for the past month, which has been interesting. Just thought I'd make a note of that here. It's also been adding to my links list on the right.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

#287. Reading List: Fan-Tan


Currently on the Reading List:

Fan-Tan by Marlon Brando and Donald Cammell. Okay, seriously?!? Yes, a book by Marlon Brando. A work of fiction. Released only a few years ago, Fan-Tan is the product of a long-simmering collaboration between Brando and filmmaker Cammell (both are now deceased), originally intended to be the kind of movie Brando hoped to make, which is plainly evident in the book itself, its character. It's larger than life, just like Brando was, in life and in the pictures. Naturally, as he himself didn't get much of in later years, Fan-Tan didn't get a lot of respect when it was finally released. Call it nonsense, the response, because it really is magic, just like the actor was, just like his acting. I'm not suggesting that he could do no wrong. But this is just another example of his ability to do very, very right. If it stays in print, or in memory, it'll become a classic in its own right. And I can't wait to meet the actor who will finally get it made.

#286. Villainy, Yoshimi


That's the cover for Villainy, the new anthology from Hall Bros. Entertainment. It's being released on June 9th. This is relevant because I've got a short story included, "Last Ride Out of Liberation," a sort of hard-boiled noir, which should be fun to read. And when I say "short" story, I really do mean "short." But still, should be fun.

The other bit of relevance is that HBE and I have just signed a contract for Yoshimi, a book that will be released next summer. It's the story of a girl thrust into the world of maturity, with samurai swords, a tale of vengeance, a mad dash around the world, and a love story, too. But it does not have robots. Yet.

Friday, May 13, 2011

#285. Blogger Maintenance


If Blogger hadn't gone done with the maintenance bug yesterday, I would've had some juicy things for you all to read. But I will now make you wait until next Thursday. But rest assured, I won't disappoint.

Unless you don't like cheese.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

#284. Reading List: The Book of Samson


Next on the Navy SEAL-approved Reading List:

The Book of Samson, another book by David Maine, which is really awesome, considering how much I ended up liking Monster, 1959. I had the opportunity to read most of that one on Monday, and so finished another book on the list pretty quickly. Maine has affirmed himself as one of today's most relevant voices, writing in a contemporary, distinctive style, with relevant things to say about yesterday and today, something every writer should take into consideration. I'm only more baffled that he remains mostly undiscovered, and it's probably because his first three books, including Samson, The Preservationist, and Fallen (the link providing you with a sweet example of the used selections available on the Borders website) are all biblical in nature. If the writing this good, this unique, this relevant, then there's no reason to discriminate. If more writers, more people were as cogent of critical thought as Maine, we'd all be better off.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

#283. Reading List: Monster 1959, Boogers Are My Beat

The historic Reading List continues: Monster, 1959 by David Maine is an ode to 50s monster movies, from another of my favorite undiscovered writers. This is actually the first time I've read him, but his are the kid of books I knew would interest me, from the first time I heard about him. This is convenient, that I really do like him, because I've got another of his books lined up on the list right after this one. I don't know how other people choose what to read (mostly by whatever is most convenient, it sometimes seems), but I like to look for the truly original literary voices. Maine is definitely one of them.

I read in a matter of days the previous Reading List selection:

Boogers Are My Beat by Dave Barry, a collection of humor columns that also include his 9/11 essays. One of my favorite writers by far, and with a couple other books on the list, so I get to revisit him again and again!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

#282. Reading List: The Third Policeman


Next on the internationally acclaimed Reading List:

The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien, which I, along with no doubt thousands other, purchased because of its rumored significance to Lost (well, maybe the last season, a little, as it turns out). Awesome enough so far that I've since bought a copy of The Dalkey Archive, which eventually became the basis for an entire publishing company (alas, a link that did not factor in its rejection of Finnegan).

Speaking of Finnegan, I'm revising the opening chapter (which is a process wholly unrelated to revising the final chapter of Ecce Homo, and by "revising" I mean totally rewriting), so that should be interesting.

The book previous to Third Policeman on the list, Tristram Shandy was also interesting. Laurence Sterne, methinks, is probably the apex of classical education. His whole book is about regurgitating his favorite bits of learnage (though it has also inspired me to pursue a little more Jonathan Swift, in the form of Tale of a Tub, one of many literary works Sterne continually references, though draws no particular inspiration from). I look forward to watching the Steve Coogan film. Seems at least one of the reviewers I've checked didn't understand the source material in the slightest. Always funny to call fibs on a critic's so-called authoritative statement. How very shandean!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

#281. WrestleMania 27


Is it Thursday and I haven't mentioned WrestleMania 27 yet? Well, as is traditional, I won't officially have seen it until the DVD release, but from what I've read, sounds like it was a pretty interesting evening. I'll be starting the Jabroni Companion in a few weeks, and I've got all the topics lined up, including a rundown of all 27 WrestleMania main eventts and my top 25 favorite wrestling matches, plus some features on my favorite wrestlers and a variety of other topics.

I should also mention that I've got some exciting fiction news, but I'm going to wait a little bit before saying much more.

Also, still reading Tristram Shandy.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

#280. Film Fan, Fan Companion, Star Trek, Jabroni Companion


The Film Fan is, technically, complete, which is pretty amazing, because I've been working on that particular version of my favorite films list for about a year. The document even with a number of really miniscule write-ups for some of the films comes in at almost ninety pages. I wonder how absurd it would be to write a whole book on my ideas about film. The Fan Companion blog itself was born of an equally absurd idea last year (it began with a series of commentaries on Star Trek that I simultaneously posted at Lower Decks (hence the star backdrop), when I thought I might literally interest Pocket Books with a, well Fan Companion, akin to the official companions it had put out for nearly every Star Trek series (Enterprise got sacrificed both to the diminishing interest in the franchise, and the idea that the Internet would actually replace printed media in the immediate future). I had attempted to solicit several of the writers of those companions, but I only went so far as Facebook, and didn't get very far. I had figured, if I could interest those guys, I could possibly interest Pocket Books. But even Pocket Books couldn't interest anyone in its most recent version of its encyclopedia, Star Trek 101, which was released about a year before the 2009 movie revival, before anyone could be sure they should be interested in the franchise again. I figured it would be neat to have a book that covered a fan's perspective, and not the angry fan who hated and/or nitpicked the franchise to near death by 2005, but someone who genuinely enjoyed Star Trek.

Anyway, following the conclusion of the Film Fan, I'll be entering Slobberknocker Fan territory, the first time I'll have dedicated a whole blog to pro wrestling. Should be interesting...

Thursday, March 03, 2011

#279. Fan Companion, Comics Reader, Sigild V, Hall Bros, Ecce Homo


Figured I should also mention a little of what I've been doing in my family of blogs. Every Thursday I update the Fan Companion (where I've been counting down my 500 hundred film favorites since last fall) and Comics Reader (where I've gotten [forty-five] creator Andi Ewington to sign up as my first official Blogger follower thanks to my hearty recommendation of his graphic novel in the 2010 QB50). I've been steadily working at Sigild V, writing and posting new stories about as regularly as I did with the poetry cycles I've done from 2007-2010. I've been hard at work at a sequence called Lost Convoy for the past few weeks now, posting new installments as the story has blossomed, and it continues to do exactly that. I've got a second act planned that will expand the story, and still not even get us to the point where our lost survivors are reunited with the rest of the fleet, not to mention barely mentioning much of the apocalyptic context!

But beyond that I've just posted a handful of short stories ("Bound by Blood," "The Insomniac's Dream," and "Monkey Palm") I wrote last year, several of which were rejected by my pal A.C. Hall for one of his Hall Bros. anthologies, though not too many sour grapes, since I got a story called "Last Ride Out of Liberation" included in the upcoming Villainy anthology, and even selected as Ace's editor's pick, which I'm terrifically proud of.

Have I even mentioned that I finished writing Ecce Homo in the final hours of last Friday? I'm also really happy about that. And so begins the long process of getting the darned thing published. Hey, Ecce Homo, have you met Finnegan, your brother in that struggle? But seriously, I worked on that sucker from October to last month, and while I spent long periods of time not actually writing, it was another revealing experience at what it takes for me to write a novel, and I'm probably more proud of this one than either of the other two (but I like those, too). Hopefully the world really will get a chance to judge for itself.

#278. Reading List: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman


Next on my Reading List:

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Stern, a wacky little book written some time ago, perhaps made a little more famous for modern readers with the Steve Coogan movie. I'm excited about this one, but the introduction in my version (which wasn't listed on the Borders website, something of a recent anomaly) is just brutal, enough to make me wish I were reading anything else. Usually intros aren't this bad. Why oh why, [insert name here]? But I remain undeterred...

4/21/11 edit: Turns out that intro wasn't as bad as I thought, since I did go back and have another look. But it's also exactly as bad as I thought. Dude did not really contextualize at all. That's what you do with intros. Instead it was as rambling as Tristram himself. Wait a minute...

#277. Jerome Charyn, Chris Jericho


Before I get to the latest Reading List book, I thought I'd take some time talking about a couple of books I recently finished, including the last selection, Jerome Charyn's Raised by Wolves.

Now, as I noted when I wrote up the listing last week, I fell into this weird confluence of Charyn and Quentin Tarantino before I became a big fan of Charyn's writing, from Johnny One-Eye, one of his most recent novels. But Charyn cast a long shadow before that one, a fact I helped acquaint myself with over the last few years, having recently added The Tar Baby and The Green Lantern to my collection (you can imagine, Theoretical Reader, knowing my affinity for the DC hero about to get his own movie, that the title alone of that last one intrigued me; alas, of course, no relation).

Anyway, I noticed a pattern the deeper I went into Charyn's backlog, and that's that Jerome likes to revisit historical figures in whimsical ways (a little of what drives Peter Ackroyd, who preceded with two books Raised by Wolves on the List, remember). Reading Wolves was like seeing an entirely different facet of him. Of course, he does present himself as both a deep scholar of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, but less so of Jackie Brown and Kill Bill (the book was published before Grindhouse or Inglourious Basterds, so cannot comment on them), and he instead falls back on a more relaxed attitude concerning their worth, is considerably, lightly, hostile toward them, in fact. It ends up making Charyn seem less discerning and more interested in following popular trends, falling into others footsteps, as it were.

This is mildly troubling, since I'd begun viewing him as something of a kindred spirit, something that in my experience is few and far between. I had hoped he might better analyze than the norm the bulk of Tarantino's career (since that's about as much as the book amounts to), so was disappointed to read that he doesn't offer the same scrutiny to movies that are less universally loved.

I am aware of the fact that different opinions do in fact exist, and that he is free to believe whatever he wants, but to have written a book about someone might have implied that he has a more abiding interest in the subject than the average person. That simply wasn't the case, and as a result, I feel a little more alienated from an individual that I have been otherwise proud of "discovering."

Okay, so that's that. I've also recently completed Chris Jericho's latest book, Undisputed. I loved his first book (available in stores now), and I loved this one, too, but again, it was a little disturbing to learn a little too much about his general psyche. In it he reiterates his displeasure with Bill Goldberg, the WCW phenomenon only WWE could kill (he said in jest, because it was in fact WCW that thoroughly decimated him). Back in 1998, it seems, when Goldberg was in the midst of his championship run, he refused to work a straight program with Jericho, which was one of his primary motivations to eventually leave the company and sign with WWE. What Jericho has refused to acknowledge all these years is that tiny fact, that Goldberg was in fact world champion at that time. Jericho had never even sniffed the main event level at that time, and had only been with the company for two years.

It gets more and more interesting. One of Jericho's biggest idols, I'll remind you, was Shawn Michaels. HBK's singles push with WWE began roughly in 1992. He didn't become world champion until 1996, four years later. I just want to maybe suggest to Jericho (besides, be light on your feet!) that he could have been a little smarter about that situation. Okay, so I'm pleased it delivered him to WWE a year later, but if he'd smartened up then, he might have saved himself a world of trouble. He recounts his reign as undisputed champion as something of a huge failure, that one of the few bright spots was when he finally won, however briefly, the respect of Vince McMahon by, well, acting like a champion. Here's where I further suggest, given the context I've reiterated about Goldberg, that maybe Jericho might have understood why his dream push against the champion didn't happen, and he got the attitude he did...because, hell, he's really froot.

Anyhoo. I really do respect Y2J, wish him the best of luck (light on your feet!), hope he wasn't cast to be the first one voted out (again!). He just needed a little seasoning. And he got it. The book covers his WWE tenure only between 1999-2005. He would enjoy far greater success in his 2007-2010 run, becoming a legitimate world champion and main event presence. But you don't have to take my word for it.

Also, reading this one finally made me take Fozzy seriously. They're froot!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

#276. Reading List: Raised by Wolves


Next up on the Reading List:

Raised by Wolves by Jerome Charyn, one of those awesome pieces of synergy I was absolutely not going for at the time. I became a huge Charyn fan some time after picking this book up either in late 2006 or early 2007, so this book was bought based on my interest in Quentin Tarantino, which itself has only increased (see: Inglourious Basterds). So to finally get around to reading this one might give you a sense of how this list works. (I should also note that I'm always reading several books at once; this list is only representative of my "most serious" interests, which is to say not the ones that I will randomly read simultaneously.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

#275. Borders, The Rock, Mr. Anderson, Ecce Homo, Seven Thunders


Gotta mention the Borders news from this week. While the store I work at is perfectly safe at the moment, the one I opened in Burlington, MA back in 2006 has closed, so that is what I am sad about. Also, there's one in Erie, PA that closed, too, and I went to college in that town.

Other big news from the week: The Rock! Finally...The Rock has come back...! This is such huge news in wrestling that it's beyond obvious. Very excited. I would cynically say he came back because he finally realized he would never be fully embraced by movie audiences as much as he has by the movies themselves. He's by far the msot successful wrestler to ever appear on the big screen, but...c'mon, The Rock is first and foremost the most entertaining (electrifying) wrestler there has ever been, not just a gimmick but one of the most complete presences ever possible. I secretly hope he fights Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVII (it's too obvious a shot at the one person truly capable of selling the Deadman's first defeat at the event), even though I know there are three other opponents currently lined up for Taker (Wade Barrett, Sting, or Triple H, and out of those I'd ideally like Sting, and can only imagine the promos). Anyway, he's back!

Also, Mr. Anderson did lose the TNA world title at Against All Odds, but that speaks more to Jeff Hardy's legitimacy as champion than Anderson's. Ken has plenty more chances to win it back, now that he's finally done it the first time.

...Also, still working on Ecce Homo. When I actually write, it works really, really well! Very close to finishing, and have so much mapped out, it's really just a matter of writing. This has been a very interesting process. On a side note, I swapped the order of the next two books I'll be writing, since the War of 1812 book I finished recently helped me map out a little more of Seven Thunders, which has technically been my passion project since 1998...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

#274. Reading List: Lambs of London


The latest book on my Reading List:

Lambs of London by Peter Ackroyd. The Clerkenwell Tales, by the way, was as awesome as I could have wanted. Because I found myself with enough time, I read the last hundred pages in a day, and I don't often read, even with all the time possible, that much like that, only when really motivated usually (though strangely I never really did that for school). Ackroyd truly is a literary treasure, something I don't mind reiterating. This particular book concerns a real-life brother and sister team who ends up fabricating a "lost" Shakespeare play.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

#273. 2011 Royal Rumble, Sigild V, Ecce Homo


I gotta say, last Sunday's Royal Rumble, and I'm talking the rumble itself, was probably among the best overall rumbles WWE has ever done. I would say it was technically brilliant, not only playing to all of the major storylines and strengths of the current roster, but even pulling a few tricks out of the bag. I mean, even Chris Masters had a spot! And speaking of spots, I know I'm a John Morrison partisan, but if it hadn't been designed otherwise, 2011 would have been a perfect year for him to win, at least with that guardrail spot of his! But the Nexus/Corre was used to perfection, John Cena, even the Great Khali. I mean, seriously, pound for pound, so much thought was put into this one, you might call it, already, a serious match of the year candidate.

And of course, Alberto Del Rio won it. I know this may seem a tad premature for a guy who has skirted more rivalries than he's had real matches in his WWE tenure, but the guy is the find of the new millennium for the company. He's the new Ric Flair. I'm talking 1970s Ric Flair, when the Nature Boy was originally making his name, establishing his legacy. I'm sure he wasn't beloved by everyone back then, but he was the best of the game, and he only got better, and more beloved, the more he stuck around. Ric Flair was supposed to be the consummate heel. He wasn't supposed to be liked. But he became one of the most beloved performers wrestling ever saw. Every major comeback he made, and there were quite a few of them, was thanks to the fact that the fans loved him so much.

Alberto Del Rio is not the Ric Flair you know. But Alberto Del Rio has all the tools to become that man. To become the man...Winning the Royal Rumble in 2011 is a step in that direction. Hell, winning at WrestleMania practically guarantees that he's there.

Anyway...that's some recent wrestling thoughts.

Now, somewhat obviously, I've got a new blog project, Sigild, my new short fiction forum, which I hope to expand, when I've properly established it, and make it the hub of a whole community. That's the dream.

I'm one section away from completing Ecce Homo. It's been a long haul, but the ride will have been worth it. I've been holding off putting Finnegan into the hands of other publishers, but I think I'm just about ready. It sounds a little weird, but I wanted total confidence in my third book before I could fully regain it for my second, which I've been trying to get published for the past year.

...Somewhere, talking about pro wrestling and literary fiction in the same blog post really does make sense...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

#272. Reading List: The Clerkenwell Tales


Next on the internationally acclaimed Reading List:

The Clerkenwell Tales by Peter Ackroyd, an author I discovered by chance in college, after discovering the then-recently published Plato Papers, which quickly became one of my all-time favorite books. But I hadn't read another book by Ackroyd since, because, criminally, he's relatively hard to find, even though he is, like the equally semi-obscure Jerome Charyn, one of our finest living authors. But in recent years, I've managed to collect a few of his more recent books, and he's due up on the Reading List, least with the two of three currently on it (I've got his acclaimed London: The Biography, but that'll be for some future version of this already extensive list).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

#271. Skippy Dies


Because I have a terrible, terrible condition, I just keep buying books, even though I've got far too many already. My most recent acquisition is Skippy Dies by Paul Murray, one of those literary pieces of literature that so many readers are petrified of. I came across it while I was shelving other books. Well, I shouldn't say I came across "it" so much as the three volume edition that's in the link. I'm a sucker for that sort of thing. I read 2666 and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell in the same kind of edition, so I naturally associate only really exceptional books with the volume format. I don't know when I'll actually get around to reading it, but I figured it was worth noting.

Friday, January 14, 2011

#270. Mr. Anderson = World Champion


Can't believe I didn't make a note of this back on Monday, but very, very pleased that Mr. Anderson has finally become a world champion. On the whole, at least for the past year, I'd give TNA the edge as far as world champions go. Last year they stood behind AJ Styles, RVD, and Jeff Hardy, all wrestlers who have demonstrated real commitments as in-ring performers. Anderson just happens to be the first one in a while who can also be counted on to deliver as a personality. It's something the company really needs, and the way he became champion was brilliant. Those who got Genesis thought they were going to have another PPV headlined by a couple of guys fighting merely to become the number one contender, but instead got that and the actual championship match, and all three competitors, Hardy and Matt Morgan, have been involved in a program for the past few months at least, while Hardy and Anderson have been going at each other (and occasionally tagging together) for much of the past year. It's cohesive, and that's exactly what TNA needs, some real momentum. Like him or hate him, but Anderson as champion represents that.

Not to take anything away from WWE, but when the most exciting world champion you had in 2010 was Kane, then there was definitely not a lot of cohesion there. But it was definitely a transition year for both companies. 2011 should be interesting.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

#269. Leo Five


Above are five really crude Leo Five cartoons. You can see for yourself how really, really crude they are. Why the heck am I even posting them? Well, long story short, I've been an amateur cartoonist pretty much my whole life. Recently, I picked up a couple of Penny Arcade collections, and that's pretty much why these are here. This is not to say Leo Five is inspired by or responding to Penny Arcade, just that you know who to blame directly. There's a cat named Tristan referenced in one of them because it's a nod to the indirect inspiration behind this whole debacle, an overheard and misheard set of names. There is obviously no one actually named Leo Five. Which means there should be a really, really crude cartoon strip named Leo Five.


Thursday, January 06, 2011

#268. Film Fan, Comics Reader, John Morrison, Galatea, Ecce Homo


I've finally updated the Film Fan, for the first time in about a month, all that slacking owing to computer woes. I believe I've talked computer woes here at Scouring Monk before, so Theoretical Reader will not be surprised.

I've also posted the 2010 QB50 at the new Comics Reader, my new so-and-so blog. I will hopefully have new stuff posted there on a weekly basis, both on new comics and older material.

Likewise, I will be updating the Film Fan list weekly until I reach the complete 500, and then I'll include a comprehensive listing for my favorite films from 2010, because hopefully by then I'll have seen pretty much all there was worth seeing from last year. I'm particularly anticipating I Love You Phillip Morris and The Way Back, plus finally seeing The Social Network, among others. Otherwise, Lower Decks denizens have already seen preliminary lists, both as a main article on the front page (listing my genre faves) and at the OL forums.

I'm particularly thrilled, in wrestling news, that John Morrison's push really has been advancing. The Sheamus rematch at TLC seemed like a showstopper, while his recent championship match on Raw against The Miz, by some reports, did the same thing. I expect him to be a world champion well before the end of the year, either by winning the Royal Rumble and headlining WrestleMania (dare I suggest?) or by winning Money in the Bank at said WrestleMania and cashing another contract, this time with a win.

Mr. Anderson, meanwhile, is hopefully at least as close, over in TNA, with the same objective.

Ain't it fun to have favorites?

In writing news, because I've always got a million projects, I'm working on a comic called Galatea. That's all I'm going to say about that. Also, I hope to break back into and finish Ecce Homo, but I don't want to rush it, even though it has now taken longer to write this book than Finnegan, the quest for publication on whose behalf continues. Dalkey Archive Press passed recently, and I want to thank them for their prompt and succinct notice. The dream marches on!

Oh, and this blog has moxie!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...