Sunday, December 30, 2007

Worst Movie Ever?

I watched part of what may be the worst movie ever last night. Calling it execrable may actually be overstating its worth. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry was just awful, unless it was somehow redeemed by the remaining hour and twenty six minutes I didn't watch, although I don't see how it could have been. Offensive on many, many levels, redemptive on none that I could see, this movie was an insult to humanity entire.

I actually like many bad movies--bad movies can be endearing because they are so bad. My favorite television show ever is Mystery Science Theater, which elevates the watching of rotten movies into a comedic art form. I don't know if even the comic genius of Michael J. Nelson and the writers of MST3K could find anything to laugh about in Chuck and Larry. Did I mention that I hate Chuck and Larry.

Adam Sandler, you used to make me laugh, but now you only make me cry.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Weird Hobby

One of the writers' magazines, Writer's Digest, I think, has a section for debut authors who answer a quick set of questions about themselves and they way they work alongside a brief description of their books. One of the topicss the authors are invited to expound upon is "weird hobby".

The question bothered me for days, because I always thought that you really couldn't get any weirder than writing. The compulsion to write is in and of itself strange, and the end product of writing can be downright mystifying. I'm sure I'm not alone among people who write--whether they be avid hobbyists, seasoned professionals, or people who simply have no choice but to write--when I sometimes have no idea where an idea or a scene came from. Sure, I can track down the psychological or historical context for most of my work by rooting around in my brain, sifting through memories and tromping through the id. But some stuff...I don't know where it comes from.

And that, my friends,is weird.

But I guess writing doesn't qualify as a weird hobby for the little interview. I realized this in the act of adding the 24,959th song iPod, something I was doing by burning a track from one of my many albums into mp3 format. I was informed not soon afterwards that not only was the size of my music collection weird, taking the time to burn tracks off of vinyl onto mp3 when they were readily available digitally through iTunes or wherever else was weird. Owning vinyl is considered by some to be weird, although it is less likely to be considered so by people in my own age bracket, even those who donated their records to Goodwill soon after college.

I'm starting a new weird hobby. I'll try to embed a bit of music trivia into each post. In "Weird Hobby" lurks the name of a song that a British band who recorded on the Creation Label released as a single. Can you name the song and band?

So, what's yer weird hobby??????????

Monday, December 17, 2007

Across the Pond--Now the Truth Can Be Told!!!

Generation Dead will be released in the U.K. by Simon & Schuster. Color me absolutely thrilled!

Or would that be colour me absolutely thrilled?

Pick any colour you like.

Simon & Schuster will be publishing Generation Dead and what is known contractually as "unnamed sequel". Unnamed sequel now has a name, and is ready for editing at Hyperion, which, along with the January road trip should make for an interesting kick off to 2008.

Special U.K. Tribute Bonus Music Question: I've embedded the title of a song by a great U.K. recording artist somewhere within this blog entry. Can you:

1. Name the artist
2. Name the album on which the song appears
3. Name the track #
4. Guess which member of the band I most resemble?

The first person to comment with all four questions correct will, um, waitaminute, let me see...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's On!

About a month from now I get to hit the road in support of Generation Dead, visiting with booksellers, librarians, and other cool people. I'll be going to Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, and then I'll spend a day in New York. Never been to two of those places so I am incredibly psyched up for the trip, I'm laying in special snacks, programming special travel songlists on the iPod, and socking away select books to read along the way. I may even wear an interesting hat.

I spent a few years working as a bookseller, a job I consider to be imbued with Noble Purpose (caps mine). Encouraging people to read, bringing reluctant or recalcitrant readers to "the good stuff"--such a task is chock full of nobility, if you ask me.

Those people work hard, and the sheer volume of customers can make for a stressful existence during the holiday season. People, please be kind, no matter what side of the counter you are on. Customers, be gentle if the clerk you are working with doesn't instantly recognize the title you are hunting for--the human mind was not meant to hold everything in the frontal lobe at all times. Booksellers, take heart. My mantra was "our customers read--or at least they know someone who does". Laugh if you will, but repeated that phrase fortified me when facing the hordes of desperate people pillaging the store for a last minute holiday gift. At the end of the day, what you've done is important. One deserving title in deserving hands that would not have been purchased without your effort represents yet another forward step in the progress of humankind.

Yes, I really believe that. To believe otherwise is madness.

So here's to the booksellers! I'm looking forward to meeting you!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


My "To Be Read" pile is pretty huge right now. My dog Bonny is afraid to pass beneath its' toddering shadow.

A few years ago I decided that I would try and read 104 books a year. Two a week, not so bad. I eclipsed that in September this year, which is pretty cool.

This year as part of my goal I read the 87th Precinct series by Ed McBain(Evan Hunter). I still have four left, but I'll wrap them up by the end of the year. The series will account for fifty-five books of my list this year, about a third of the whole list. I had to read the series in order, of course, and had a lot of fun trying to track down some of the older ones, some of which are out of print, in used bookstores and libraries. I was intrigued by the idea of having a cast of characters recurr over so many books--not the mention that Mr. McBain wrote them over a half cetury. The first, Cop Hater, came out in 1956, and the last, Fiddlers, came out the year of his death in 2005. I'm amazed by how consistently good the series was, and how much I'd come to feel for his characters. I'm going to be very sad to finish the series, really.

By the way, I'd like to mention that my daughter Kayleigh, age nine, decided this year that she'd like to set a reading goal. She is at #49 of her goal and closing fast. I'm very proud of her!