Blog Summary

A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Movie Time: Rewind: Wait Until Dark

Hey all,

Welcome to this month's segment of the Rewind, highlighting great films made before the year of my birth, 1976. I have been meaning to do a spotlight on my favorite actress, Audrey Hepburn, but picking the right movie is the challenge. She made many truly great films over the course of her career and I wanted to pick one that may not have been as common.

It's easy to pick out her brilliance in roles like My Fair Lady and Breakfast at Tiffany's. I also truly love the original Sabrina, with Humphrey Bogart, William Holden and Hepburn. My favorite movie with her is Charade, co-starring the impeccable Cary Grant. These films are great, but they are to easy. I may do a spotlight one day on Charade, but I want to recommend Wait Until Dark, starring Hepburn, Alan Arkin, and Richard Crenna.

Made in 1967, Hepburn is a blind woman living in an apartment who accidentally comes into possession of a doll full of heroine. Alan Arkin plays the heavy who wants to get the doll back, and Crenna is the love interest. Made in the same vein as a Hitchcockian thriller, all of the action takes place in the apartment. Much like Hitch's films Rope and Rear Window, creating a very tight, claustrophobic set. There are many twists and turns in the story, and nothing is ever as it seems. I don't want to give too much of the plot away, as each twist builds towards the thrilling climax between Arkin and Hepburn. Needless to say, the thrills are surely on par with the best of Hitch or M. Night Shamalan.

Hepburn is very convincing as a blind woman, alone and frightened, who resolves to survive. Alan Arkin, who you may know from roles in Little Miss Sunshine and the upcoming Get Smart, is very menacing and imposing.

Hepburn earned an Oscar nomination for this role, and it's clear to see why. The lighting and story elements are fantastic, and it's very taut. Wait Until Dark was also the last movie she made before taking a nearly 10 year hiatus to raise her children. She walked away at the top of her game, and only chose projects that would allow her to be with her family after that.

The truth is it is hard to find a bad film to recommend with Audrey involved. In my opinion, she was the last great classy glamour actress, the kind that so perforated the 30's and 40's. They started dying off as the great studio era waned in the 50's, but not without giving us one last movie great, Audrey Hepburn.

End of Line.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Blank Pages

Hey all,

I once heard it said that the surest cure for writer's cramp is writer's block. I can assure you that is the truth. I ended up working tonight, typically I don't work Sundays, but circumstances prevented that from happening this week. Sunday nights at work are slow and boring. Even with the list of things I left for myself to do, specifically targeted for tonight, I STILL was done with them all by 9pm. I sat in the office waiting for customers to show up so I would have something to do. It was depressing.

You can't surf the Internet, the work computer is on a dial up and has so many built in firewalls that disabling them to get to any good websites is almost impossible now with sending up some flags. We are also one of the only NON wi-fi stores left so I can't even take my PC to hook up.

One of the things I like to do on this downtime is to work on my poetry. I just wasn't feeling it today though. I wrote a lot of lines, just nothing that had any purpose or substance to it. It was kind of frustrating. So i sat there, with nothing to show for it. Today was not a good day.

End of Line.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun

Episode 9

Reny Cargill took a quick stock of his sundries and moved to unlock the General Store's doors. As he pulled back the shades and peered outside he was surprised by how dark it was. He cast a quick look to the clock hanging on his wall and saw that it was 7:00am, well into what should be daylight.

Reny walked into the street and looked to the sky, dread filling him as he saw what looked to be a burned out orb in the sky. As he cast about for movement on the slow streets, he caught signs of movement on the edge of town. He quickly jogged toward the commotion, hoping to get a few answers as to what was going on.

As Reny drew near he could sense something wasn't right. He smelled them before his eyes could make sense of what he was seeing. Graves unturned and the dead walking, streaming down the slow slope of Boot Hill. Reny choked back a scream and ran for his store as the undead creatures closed upon the town.

End of Line.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Such Wicked Toll

Hey all,

Wrote this poem at work last night. Turning back to familiar territory in my poetry. Whenever it gets hard to write poetry I tend to turn to what I feel best, aspects that I can rely on. I do want to make a concentrated effort to write poems about different subjects, but I find inspiration tends to flow from the topics I relate to more. Hope you are okay with reading them still.

This poems was an effort to build on a pattern I used a few months ago in a poem called The Match. Using short three word lines to convey meaning. That poem was about urgency. This poem is more about not having the ability to express yourself fully from what you are feeling. You feel so bad that you can only manage short sentences. Sort of loss by literature's sake. I think it turned out okay. Thanks for reading.

Such Wicked Toll

Agony or apathy,

Remorse turns cold.

The frosty breeze,

Grown so bold.

Harshly blown wild,

Untamed and aware.

Never now mild,

Chilling old cares.

Once blood's passion,

Flushed hotly bright.

'Till meager ration,

O'erwhelmed the fight.

Last salty cry,

And sobbing pout.

Now bled dry,

Love's run out.

Thinking of you,

Taken my joy,

Mistakes to rue,

That we'd destroy.

Hard to endure,

Such wicked toll.

When the cure,

Tore my soul.

Missing you always,

Don't feel complete.

The heart betrays,

As mind defeats.

A life fulfilled,

Just can't last.

Try to build,

Forget the past.

Haunted by thought,

Cold dead love.

All for naught,

Remembrance there of.

Light turns black,

Once burning, fade.

Can't turn back,

Affection so betrayed.

End of Line.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun

Episode 8

Billy and Katee ran from the burning stable, the sounds and smells of rotting flesh burning behind them. Several of the creatures had escaped the stable, some still on fire as they pursued the couple.

" Make for the Sheriff's office Katee!"

Two of the beasts stood at the doorway of the Sheriff's office and Billy freed his Colt with his right hand. Quickly thumbing back the hammer he fired off three quick shots. One shot was dead on as the monster's brains splattered over the wall. The other two hit the second creature, but failed to drop it. As it lurched away from the door Billy thumbed back the hammer again.

Suddenly Katee pushed him aside and fired the Winchester. The powerful rifle boomed as the creature's head exploded in a shower of gore.

Billy flashed Katee a grateful smile and jumped up to open the door. Trying the knob and finding it locked he lowered his shoulder to bust it in.

"You'd better make quick work of that Billy, we're about to get more company than we can handle....."

Katee looked to see the survivors lurching from the livery explosion head towards them, and there were more of them than they had bullets for.

End of Line.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Movie Review: Cloverfield

Hey all,

First off, I know that the last few posts have been movie heavy and I promise that I'll get back to some Flash Fiction tomorrow, but I had the chance to see Cloverfield Sunday night and wanted to put my thoughts down on the film.

First off, no matter how this comes across, I really liked the film. I thought it was fun and it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I thought that the acting and look of the film was done very well, it really made you feel like you were a part of the movie. J. J. Abrams produced the film, and as one of the main creative forces behind Lost and shows like Alias, he certainly knows entertainment.

That being said, this is not what I would call an original film. It's basically Godzilla meets the Blair Witch Project. A giant seemingly unstoppable Lovecraftian monster is laying waste to New York City and you witness the events through a group of party-goers who decide to rescue their trapped friend in the heart of the city. The entire film is shot with a hand held "shaky cam." You see the movie through the lense of one of the party-goers, who was documenting the party, but decides the event that are unfolding before him must be recorded so people will know.

As long as you don't suffer from motion sickness, this is definitely a film to see in theatres. Like Blair Witch, the sounds and ambiance of a theatre really add to the tension and drama before you, as opposed to watching it on your couch. The actors, none of whom are "famous" really get you involved in the story. The effects shot were also well done, and I was happy to see that they did give you some very clean shots of the monster, instead of just grainy whip pans with the camera that would cover the creature.

I enjoyed Cloverfield a lot. Just remember what I said about motion sickness, already theatres are warning viewers about the film as many movie-goers have gotten sick and had to leave. It's Godzilla, American style. (Just forget that terrible 1998 version with Matthew Broderick shall we?)

End of Line.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Movie Preview: 2008

Hey all,

I figured I would complete this trilogy of movie related posts with my buzz worthy films to look out for in 2008. There is a good selection this year, though in no way as anticipatory as 2007, with three of the highest grossing franchises in history coming out within a month of each other. There will be plenty of tent pole summer action this year though with several big budget sequels in the pipe line. I tried to make the list reflective of public expectation in the first 5, with my picks in the second 5.

10- Wall-E

This will probably be one of the highest grossing films of the summer and you cannot go wrong with a Disney/Pixar combo. I don't feel the anticipation factor is as high as some of my other choices in the list, but this film will be a force to be reckoned with this summer.

9-James Bond 22

The longest running series in film history is back, I enjoyed the action sequences in Casino Royale, but I really want to see the pacing picked up for this installment. Royale bogged down in some instances, but since it was essentially a reboot with Bonds origin, I expect this installment to have a bit more spectacle, while retaining that real world feel that they were going for in Royale.

8- Hancock

Will Smith in a downtrodden super hero comedy. Smith is usually spot on with his film choices and I don't see him making a mistake with this one. Despite my feelings for I am Legend, you can't argue with its box office success.

7- Star Trek XI

Essentially another reboot of the franchise, we will flashback to tales of young Kirk and Spock. So far I like that J.J. Abrams of Lost and Cloverfield fame is helming the picture, and casting seems to be spot on casting Zachary Quinto of Heroes, Simon Pegg, Winona Ryder, and Leonard Nimoy to appease the faithful. I don't feel expectations are as high as some others on the list though as the last few films haven't been great. I am intrigued to see where they will go.

6- The Incredible Hulk

The idea is not to retread on the original, but build on the man on the run premise. I like the new casting direction with Edward Norton and Liv Tyler. Norton I feel can relate a lot more angst and depth than Eric Bana did in the sequel. They are also going far more action oriented, more Hulk Smash, less Hulk sulk.

5-Iron Man

So far everything that's been released looks great, the effect sand casting, like Robert Downey, Jr, Terence Howard, Samuel L. Jackson and Gwynth Paltrow. I am curious to see if director Jon Favreau can handle a film with this kind of budget and expectation, having previously directed fare like Will Ferrell's Elf. This could be a big step for Marvel Comics producing their own work independently, or a big loss.

4- Hellboy 2

It's well known that I love me some Guillermo del Toro, and the first film was pretty good. I feel that with all the cast returning for the sequel, the franchise will be in good hands.

3- The Dark Knight

It almost pains me to say that there are two films I am looking forward to more than this one. Batman Begins was spot on the best super hero movie ever made. Better than the original, better than the Spider-man series. Christopher Nolan is a great director, and Christian Bale can do big budget action, or subtle character acting. Heath Ledger is also looking to be a good choice in a "real world" take on the Joker.

2- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

It's been a stellar franchise for 5 films so far, and this will be the darkest and most shocking yet. It's easily one of the strongest books in the series and should offer new and old Potter fans a serious shot of adulthood and darkness.

1- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Umm.. it's Harrison Ford in his best role ever. It's George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. It has the biggest expectations and the most buildup. It cannot suck because so many people want.. no need it to be what they remember. This will cement these creators as genius, or revile them as idiots.

A few other films that could deserve an honorable mention are The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Wanted (with Angelina Jolie) the remake The Day The Earth Stood Still, Madagascar 2: The Crate Escape,X-Files 2, and the Mummy 3. This could be a good year for movies, and I surely will see you there. Thanks for reading.

End of Line.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Movie Review: 2007 Part 2

Hey all,

For today's follow up column I thought I would post my Top 5 Worst Films of 2007. I saw a lot of movies in 2007 and the fact that I didn't like so many of them should have made this an easy column. It's hard to call some of the bottom films the WORST of 2007, as I didn't see some of the films that invariably should be on this list, like Hostel Part 2 or P2, or any of the other wide assortment of terrible horror films that were released. Anyway here is my Top 5.

5- Ghost Rider

Maybe one of the worst super hero films since Halle Berry's Catwoman, I hated pretty much every aspect of the bronze plated turd. The direction, story and acting were all sub par. One of the single lowest points of this film is when Ghost Rider, a demon from hell that hunts demons, finds the most appropriate response of police officers shooting at him is to flip them off. He's a demon and he gave the cops the finger. Terrible. Don't even get me started on Nic Cage's hairpiece.

4- 28 Weeks Later-

All I wanted was something that was akin to the first film. 28 Weeks Later was long, boring and didn't really drive the story like the original. I also thought the quality of actors was a step back. I just didn't care about the characters of the people they were trying to protect. I think the biggest problem was that I expected nothing in the first and I got gold, and in the second I expected silver or bronze and didn't even medal.

3- Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End

Just an over the top gluttony of buffoonish acting, with the effects over story telling mentality that crippled the second film. The first film found that natural balance between story and effects and the franchise never felt the same. Honestly Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly weren't even needed in that film. Hated it.

2- Spider-man 3

Probably the most disappointing film of 2007, with my expectations being so high. The first 2 films are perfect examples of how to make a super hero movie, balance the story with the action. Here it feels like they were trying to make two different movies, the Sandman story that Sam Raimi wanted, and the Venom film the studio wanted. It was too much to really pull off in a single movie, they should o introduced the symbiote in the film and left the character of Venom for the follow up in Spider-man 4.

1- Transformers

I fully understand that I will be flamed as I am one of the only people I know who hated this movie so. It took everything I loved about Transformers and ruined them Optimus looked terrible, Bumblebee was a Camaro, I don't know what Megatron transformed into, was that a dinosaur with jets attached? Why did one Decepticon transform into scorpion, and the rest into vehicles? Maybe I am to much of a purist but I just wanted it to be closer to what I remember. I am okay with making changes for the sake of movies, but it was just to many for me. Add that Micheal Bay is known for making big budget no story action flicks, well I hated it. I also respect that so many of you did like the film. You just won't catch me at Transformers 2.

I'd also give an honorable mention to Shrek 3 and Oceans Thirteen.

Anyway there is my list, I am planning one more movie list this week highlighting some of the most anticipated films of 2008. Thanks for reading.

End of Line.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Movie Review: 2007

Hey all,

It was my intention to run my top movie picks of 2007 down after watching Sweeney Todd, but unless I go catch it by myself some afternoon I may not see it until video. 2007 was a fairly disappointing year with so many high profile releases, but I thought I would run down my top 10 films of 2007. These films are based on a few things, one they will all be genre films. The Oscars and Golden Globes are gonna slurp up films like There Will Be Blood and Atonement, I am concentrating on films that the general public goes to see. Tow, these are films I have watched. Not being a professional critic I have to pay my own way and sometimes I don't get to see movies that may be good, Like Sweeney Todd or American Gangster.

That's the precursor, onto my Top 10 genre Films of 2007.

10- Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Probably the weakest pick of my top 10. I am sure there are probably a few films that I missed that were better than this, but I went into the film expecting it to be terrible and I was surprised to see it actually improve on the original.

9-Shoot'em Up-
Just a sinfully guilty pleasure in terms of action and farce. I loved Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti's over the top approach. Its not a good movie.. but it's damn fun.

8- Hot Fuzz
My forgotten favorite of the summer. Very funny and very good. I thought it a perfect send up of the cheesy action genre that I love so dearly. I also think it further cemented Simon Pegg as a comedic actor with a large upside.

7- 300
I loved 300's slavish adaption of Frank Miller's graphic novel and the beautiful way the movie was shot. I will admit that this slipped a bit on the charts for the sheer amount of over exposure it received.

6- Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Financially the worst received of the Judd Apatow movies of the summer (Knocked Up and Superbad running rampant) but by far my favorite. Eschewing the gross out humor with a message formula of the those other films its simply a ridiculous and funny movie that made me laugh. My favorite comedy of the year.

Top 5

5- Grindhouse
Though way to long I absolutely loved Tarentino's Deathproof and the great fake trailers spread through the movie. Particularly Robert Rodriguez's Machete and Rob Zombie's hilarious Werewolf Women of the SS. The Planet Terror section too long for my tastes and could have used a bit of an edit, but over the course of the year I really came to like the movie more.

4-Live Free or Die Hard
My favorite action movie of the year saw Bruce Willis return to what he does best, crack wise, kill bad guys, and get the shit beat out of him. It didn't try to be something it wasn't, just a fun movie that reminded us why we loved the other three in the first place.

3- Pan's Labyrinth-
Guillermo del Torro is quickly becoming a great director. Managing to make two compelling films in one is no easy feat. The fantastic juxtaposition of the Spanish Civil War and a girls journey to the world of faerie was beautifully done. Technically this film given a limited release in 2006 for Oscar contention, but the film didn't get a national release until January of 2007, which is why I am counting it here.

2- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix-
My least favorite book and possibly my favorite film of the series in one. Director David Yates boiled down the film to the important parts and kept the tone of the film evolving with the audience. The optimism of the early works really turns dark in book 5 and I think that message was conveyed. I am eagerly awaiting his adaption of book 6 in 2008, possibly the darkest of the series.

1- 3:10 to Yuma
This should be no surprise to anyone who has talked to me. I love Westerns and this is a great western. Better than the original version and another reason to man crush on Christian Bale. It has a great story, great action and great acting. Perfect/

I am sure I left out some great films, but this was my list. I will post a worst of '07 tomorrow that I know at least 1 film inclusion should be flameworthy. Thanks for reading and happy viewing in 2008!

End of Line.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Solution

Hey all,

Here's another poem I wrote during the waning days of my somewhat working vacation. Sort of a love poem directing questions to the meaning of life and our purpose. The poem is about one person finding their answer, though not me. I can relate to some of the feelings of having unanswered questions in life, but I think each person finds there own reasons. Some we know and some reasons we want to believe. Some answers we haven't figured out yet. Not sure which category I am in yet. Anyway please enjoy the poem.

The Solution

Time is a question of answers sought,

Where rewards' a pursuit not easily caught.

Rhyme and reason seem a matter of fate,

When the total sum just doesn't equate.

The solution to life, the great unknown,

To find one another, awash and alone.

The meeting of two to equal the one.

Coming together to join the undone.

Many queries may result in the same,

Missing the prize under a mountain of blame.

Seeking a purpose from close or afar,

During our time from the pain and the scar.

Joining in mind to covet so pure,

Bringing once broken pieces a cure.

When there is so little we can trust or rely,

Hold faith in what we cannot deny.

The meaning of life so close at hand,

The answer is you and love's sweet demand.

As the flag of my heart flutters unfurled,

You're my reason for being in all of the world.

End of Line.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Food for Thought (Day 2!)

Hey all,

In what has turned out to be an interesting weekend for food, my friends and I tried out another interesting place to eat yesterday. Called Lo-Lo's its an authentic soul food establishment that serves chicken and waffles. Much like the famous Roscoe's in Los Angeles, it prides itself on serving African American "street food." I have been fascinated by the concept of the restaurant for a long time, ever since hearing about it and I have wanted to taste it.

Now I should point out that it is located in the urban section of down town Phoenix. It's not the nicest of neighborhoods and the building is not in the greatest of shape. I will say though, that the service was bright and friendly and the food was great. I ordered the traditional fare, deep fried chicken and waffles, with a side of red beans and rice. The rest of the table ordered very similar dishes, passing around excellent collared greens and grits. I found the chicken to truly taste home cooked and the side dishes were much better than I anticipated. I also must recommend their homemade lemonade, it was fantastic! Maybe the best I have ever tried. I look forward to going back to sample some of their other dishes, like catfish and red velvet cake.

I will be honest, I wasn't sure how we would be viewed upon entering the restaurant, being white. This is a small piece of African American culture that most others may not understand or treat respectfully. I am not in any way racist and real prejudice is a terrible blight upon the world. But I was still nervous that we would be viewed strangely. Fortunately none of that was evident. I recommend Lo-Lo's for a true urban dining experience. The food was good and who doesn't want to say they ate chicken and waffles?

End of Line.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Food for Thought

Hey all!

Today's post is about an experience I had last night eating some delightful new foods at a restaurant called George and the Dragon. It's an English/Scottish/Irish pub, sort of a United Kingdoms food crawl. I should point out that I love trying new dishes that I have never tasted before and this restaurant had a lot of fare that I have never had the chance to experience.

First off, I had two English beers that I have never had before (and I have tried beers from all over the world) called Hoegaarden (hope that spelling is right) and Old Peculiar. The Hoegaarden is a white beer, made with wheat served with a lemon. Had a very mild taste served as a draught. The Old Peculiar was served in a bottle, a dark English stout with a very nice taste. It wasn't bitter or overpowering, I liked it.

For food we started off with an appetizer called a Scotch Egg. A hard boiled egg which is then wrapped around a sausage, sort of like a meatball, then coated in bread crumbs and deep fried. It was then cut in four and served cold with a worchester sauce for dipping. It was wonderful in a very surprising manner. I thought that it would be something I didn't like but it was my favorite taste of the night. It would make for a hardy breakfast.

The main course consisted of another traditional English dish, steak and kidney pie.It consists of diced beef steak and diced lamb's kidney, in a heavy, thick sauce of spices and onions. It's a one crust pie, meaning that the dish is covered with a flaky crust but not completely enclosed by the pastry. It was a heavy dish served with English chips (what we would call steak fries, thick cut french fries). It was very tasty but not something I think everyone would enjoy, tough I certainly would eat it again.

Dessert was an English classic, Spotted Dick. It starts out with a hot breaded blend of fruits, consisting of currents, raisins, and citrus peels covered in a hot foamy English custard, that's usually steamed. I enjoyed it a lot, though I don't think the rest of the table did. It was a huge portion and had a very indescribable taste, unlike anything I had ever eaten before. I would certainly order it again and it's definitely something you should try.

I look forward to a return visit to George and the Dragon to sample other English fare, such as there Shepard's Pie and Bangers and Mash ( a personal favorite). It is always an adventure to try new cuisine, and I had a lot of fun.

Thanks for reading.

End of Line.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun

Episode 7

Billy spurred the horse harder, clutching the reins in his hands, white hot tears flowing down his face. He still couldn't believe it, Warren was dead and that... that....thing eating him, it was to horrible to relive. His brother was dead, and there as nothing he could do anymore but run.

He scanned for the horizon, only finding an inky darkness when it should be early morning. No moon or stars, just a darkened orb where the sun was supposed to be. Focusing on that gave him something else to think about, would take his mind away from what he had seen. There were so many questions.

He could hear the horse's labored breath as he urged him to go faster. Another few minutes and he would be near Contention, near to the Sheriff and nearer to hopefully some answers. He gripped the reins tighter and felt for the security of his scatter gun as he crested the hill. Finding Contention sprawled out before him, the lanterns of homes piercing the night, like a beacon. He gave the horse a reassuring pat and galloped into town.

End of Line.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Movie Review (DVD edition) Shoot'em Up

Hey all,

The movie Shoot'em Up came out a a while back and it was a film that I wanted to see. I didn't get a chance to see the film, but I did pick it up on a blind buy based on a friends recommendation. We both love the cheesy "B" movies that usually go straight to video, or the Sci-Fi channels weekly crap-fest. They are mindless action romps that can make you laugh. It's not about plot or acting, its only about having fun.

Shoot'em Up delivers that in spades. Clive Owen is Smith, a stranger who saves a pregnant hooker from villains. She dies, but not before giving birth, to which Smith then feels he must protect the baby. He takes it to Monica Belluci, another hooker who services clients with.. shall we say baby fetishes, for nourishment. The main villain, Paul Giamatti, hamming it up in what is obviously a lot of fun for him, chases them down. That's the plot. They throw reality out of the window early on, with Owen shooting bad guys as he delivers the baby, and his character is always eating carrots-which lead to at least 2 carrot related deaths. The final sequence between Giamatti and Owen is SO unbelievable its achieves classic campiness and outrage.

I realize that not everyone likes this kind of film, but if you love bad action movies, with puns so bad that they turn good and hilarious one liners, Shoot'em Up is for you. Gun fights, car chases, paper thin plots (with holes so wide you can drive a truck through them, crazy sex sequences, and sheer unbridled over the top fun, then you'll like this movie. I recommend Shoot'em Up for a night of fun with your friends.

End of Line.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun

Episode 6: (Part Two)


The Sheriff quickly clamped his eyes shut and turned his head sideways as the zombie's head exploded in a shower of decaying brains and thick congealed blood. Root rolled the heavyset creature to his side and wiped some residue off of his face before turning to his savior.

Katee Sinclair stood in the doorway to the Pullman car, her threadbare dress torn, exposing her long legs, the smoking barrel of the Colt pistol still held in both hands. She looked around the car before holstering the Colt in her gun belt. She brushed an errant strand of hair away before looking back to him.

"You exposed Sheriff?"

Root pulled down the sleeve of his shirt, hiding the long claw marks on his arm. "Bit of a scrape, but I'll be fine. Helluva a shot Katee. Get Billy in here, it won't be long 'fore those son's a bitches get through that door."

As Katee turned away, Root reached into his vest's inner pocket, pulling out a small flask. He took a quick pull before splashing a bit on his torn flesh. He bit his lip as the dark liquor burned in the wound.

"This is gonna get fuckin' worse...."

End of Line.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun

Episode 6 (Part One)

Billy quickly moved into the second train car, where Katee and the Sheriff were already waiting. He latched the door behind him as the undead lurched closer, surging against the door. The car they were in seemed empty and the three of them moved through it quickly.

"Wait here, I'll check out the next car. It's only a matter of time before they get through the door."

The Sheriff pulled open the car door, and moved into the space way between cars. He took a deep breath and opened the second door. Pulling free both of his pistols he crept into the car. It was dark and had that familiar order of decay. The lights had all been bashed out, and the Sheriff moved silently through the car.

Suddenly lurching from the fore section of the car shambled three of the creatures. The Sheriff lined up and let 3 quick shots fly. Two of the beasts fell back, their brains blown against the wall. The three shot went wide and the creature raked his claws against the Sheriff's arm.

"ARRGH!" he yelled dropping one of his guns as the beast drew him in. The zombie, which outweighed him by at least 80 pounds, wrestled him to the ground. He strained to keep the monster's teeth from clamping down on him. His good arm, still clutching the gun, was wedged beneath the huge beast's chin, forearm pushing away the clamping jaws.

"Son of a bitch..."

End of Line.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Quick Hit

Hey all,

Two quick notes,

First, I went back and put in some section breaks in my last poem. I re-read it today and I think it will help other readers find a better rhythm to it.

Also, the next two flash fiction posts will be a two parter. Telling a story in a disjointed manner for me has been a lot of fun, but the story for this part is a little longer than a typical post. Enjoy!

End of Line.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Hey all,

First poem of 2008 posted today. This was a weird poem to write, I just kept putting lines to paper and this is what came out. A very downtrodden poem about dealing in your mistakes and regrets, and a the inability to move past the things you've done. Or the things you can't seem to do. Very different cadence than my normal poems, I can feel the rhythms as I write it, but I am not sure if it will have the same measures in the eye of the reader. This may not be a poem that translates for anyone else, though I see my own message and meaning in it. Poetry hasn't been easy the last month or two, but I like writing it, it feels cathartic. I think that even posting ones that may not resonate to everyone at least helps me in terms of expressions. As always thank you for reading.


Broken to my own stained set of living,

One more day to wallow in my filth.

Sweat and grime are all I have for giving.

Crashing down on a lost chance at wealth.

The dirt just won't wash off my person.

Blackened dirge to drown out my health.

Unclean even in a world of dream,

Where the cost of taxing feels obscene.

And I'm drifting out on a darkened stream.

Threadbare and thin, without a hope.

Wrapped amid such unbending hurt.

So worn out hanging by a frayed rope.

Done so many very bad things,

That won't wash away amidst the scrubbing.

Just adding up like so many layered rings.

Can't even see the man I use to be,

Just a dirty reflection in the mirror.

And the scum of wanton apathy.

End of Line.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Word Balloon: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Dark Dossier

Hey all,

I was inspired to run a new feature today, highlighting books that I am reading or really enjoying. As anyone who knows me can tell you, I am a voracious reader. I love reading, especially science fiction, fantasy, and adventure books. I am also a huge comic book fan.

My father got me into reading, he always had a book or something when I was growing up, and continues to now. We even exchange books at holidays through the mail to further each others habits. He introduces me to new fiction and adventure novels, I show him great genre and science fiction reads.

This particular column, hell the reason that I thought to do this today, was inspired by a comic book. I have been collecting comics since i was 10 yeas old in 1986. Superheroes, independent press, a variety of reads throughout the years. Never before though have I been so astounded by a book than the one I am reading now. This includes novels and "real literature." Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier.

First a bit of back story. Alan Moore is comics literary genius. Creating some of comics greatest works, V For Vendetta, From Hell, Watchmen, and seminal runs on Superman, Swamp Thing, and Miracle Man. Many of these works have been translated to film, some good (V for Vendetta) and some bad ( League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). Moore will have nothing to do with the films, giving all proceeds to the artist an not wanting his name on something he didn't directly do. O'Neill is a gifted artist who helps create the League book's Victorian feel.

There are three League series in print so far and I recommend getting the first 2 volumes for back story. What Moore has done is to craft a tale of some of literature's greatest characters into a team of heroes of the royal crown. Mina Murry, wife of Jonathan Harker of Dracula fame. Mr. Hyde, Allen Quartermain, The Invisible Man, and Captain Nemo comprise the team featured in his books. But the scope of research done to connect so many literary characters so well is mind boggling. Weaving a tapestry that connects novels like Last of The Mohican's, Pilgrims Progress, Gulliver's Travels, Shakespeare' Midsummers Night Dream,War of the Worlds , Sherlock Holmes, 1984 and characters like James Bond, Fanny Hill, H.G. Wells Time Traveler... the list is endless.

As I read the third volume, presented as a collection of articles on the various incarnations of the League throughout the years, with Prospero's league (featured in Shakespeare's The Tempest) to Mina Murry's 19th century League, to a 1950's League led by James Bond and Emma Peel (from televisions Avengers) I am amazed at the amount of research that Moore pored into this work.

I consider myself fairly well read, but I have never felt like more of a literary hack than while reading this book. I honestly cannot imagine putting such time and energy into something like this, crammed with reference that most people may not even see. Including me, as I surely have not read every one of of the novels Moore references. It's almost demoralizing to see how inconsequential what I do is in comparison.

This is what comic books are truly capable of. Moore's works, particularly Watchmen ( a deconstruction of super heroes in the real world) are already studies in colleges. In fact Watchmen is considered by many to be the pinnacle of comic storytelling. Moore is blowing this stuff away with his League books. Please check them out.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

End of Line.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun

Episode 5

Boothe polished the worn counter top with a dirty rag. He grumbled under his breath as he noticed a fresh set of carvings on the counter as he wiped at them harder. Boothe reached into his pocket and pulled out his watch, Faded and tarnished, it still kept good time, and Boothe put it back into his pocket. He looked out over the bar at the saloons customers.

It was getting on towards dawn, though he didn't see the sun yet, which in of itself was strange. There weren't many people left in the place, Deke and Barry he had to kick out every day, but the stranger was still sitting at the same table, hand holding an empty glass. Stranger had been waiting for a go with one of his girls, but he'd been booked up most of the night. Katee'd be free soon, and he could make a few more bucks before closing up.

Boothe walked over to the stranger and shook his shoulder. He didn't get much response and he shook it harder. " Hey you still wanna go?"

Suddenly the stranger spun his head, quicker than Boothe would have thought possible and sank his teeth into Boothe's hand.

"FUCKIN MOTHER FUCK!" Boothe cursed as he bent back towards the bar.

The stranger lurched from his chair and moved towards Boothe. Cradling his hand he reached over the bar for his gun, just as he felt the stranger's teeth plung into his neck. He let out a scream as the last thing he heard was the ring of gunshots.

End of Line.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Thought Balloon

Happy 2008 all!

Seems that 2007 has come to its end and we are into a new year already. I have to be honest, it seems that the year went by really fast. Each year moving just a bit quicker than before. All in all though, I feel that 2007 was a pretty good year.

I am happy with my blog output over the course of the last few months, getting a post every other day or so for the most part. I also feel that I arranged an overall tone in the blog, sort of a standard by which you the reader can count on. My goal is to average at least 15 posts a month for the whole year. Honestly I should be able to do more, but we will see.

Work this year started off really bad and has kind of turned 180 degrees. I seem to be off the shit lists and on the top performers list and that feels good. There are still times when I have to pull long hours or have bad days, but in general I think that we are at a fairly stable position on the store. My only goal at work this year is to enjoy my vacation (all 8 weeks!) and get eligible for a company car.

I'm still not where I want to be personally in my life. It seems like that's my resolution every year though. Moving forward to develop a relationship is still a daunting task that I struggle with everyday. I can analyze my own fears and shortcomings, but I still don't know how to get past these foibles. Cutting to the quick of this definitely a target in 08. Another year closer.

I thank everyone who has read my blog over the last year and who will continue to do so. Flash Fiction is scheduled to upload tomorrow so there is lots to look forward to in 2008. Thanks for reading.

End of Line.