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!


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