July 21st, 2008

iAm iSaid

What I've been reading

As I'm a temp again, I'll be offline for most of today so my agency can call me if assignments come in that I could do. In the meantime, Good Morning, and I figured I'd share some of my reading lately:

Right now I'm reading both the original text of The Stand by Stephen King, and Drawing Blood (preferred title Birdland) by Poppy Z. Brite. It's the Brite writing that to me most closely echoes Stephen King, in fact; Brite's a huge fan of his. I'm more a fan of docbrite's writing this decade, which is less flowery and more straightforward, especially the Rickey and G-Man stories; but I'm much preferring Drawing Blood over Doc's first novel Lost Souls, as most vampire stories for some reason don't do much for me. (The one bit from Lost Souls that stayed with me was a character wondering what the heck happens to all of the saliva one swallows: does it just collect undigested in the stomach? docbrite likes thinking about food and digestion, as do I.)

Other books I've finished lately:

* Serenity: The Official Visual Companion, with discussion, notes, and the Serenity script by Joss Whedon. I've been in a Whedonverse mood. (Everything I've borrowed in the last few weeks from the library and have on hold there is Whedon-related.)

* Meg, by Steve Alten: Sometimes I just want to read a straightforward page-turner. (Huh. I first typed that "page-turned.") This I read almost entirely in one day. Great ridiculous idea and set-up: what if the Megalodon, the largest shark that ever existed, still existed? What if it had adapted to living in the deep trenches several miles down? And how could it be drawn up and away from the trenches to WREAK CHEWY-BITE-Y HAVOC ALL OVER THE PACIFIC OH MY GOD? It's slightly like Lake Placid with a giant shark (and later, sharks, plural) instead of a giant crocodile, and yep, I liked Lake Placid in all its decapitated-heads-hitting-Bridget-Fonda silliness. This I liked, too. (Yay! Guam was a location! I have family there.)

* Naked in Death, by Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb: Speaking of page-turners... Yep, I enjoyed this. I also like the reason I sought it out. Nora Roberts is a big name in romance novels, and earlier this year a controversy erupted over fellow romance novelist Cassie Edwards being accused of plagiarism. Roberts weighed in on it (basically saying Yep, looks like she plagiarized) and caught flack for saying that, even after it came out that yep, Edwards had plagiarized. She'd lifted verbatim not only from several novels, she'd also, bizarrely, stolen descriptions of the lives and mating habits of a certain kind of endangered ferret. As written about in a science article. (That evidence came out first. Edwards's reaction was basically Oh. I didn't know that was plagiarism. Says the author of over 50 books. The whole debacle is summarized over several pages here.) The rather surprised and somewhat bemused author of that science piece wrote a response column for Newsweek's website saying It's all well and good that the plagiarism was caught, but what about the ferrets? I wrote that because people are trying to help this species. Nora Roberts heard and replied that she'd challenge her readers to donate money to the cause of helping these ferrets, and she'd match what they raised. This netted over $5,000 for that cause. That was the moment Nora Roberts went from "sensible" to "above and beyond in a way that rocks!," and I wanted to support that above-and-beyond spirit.

In my begin-at-the-beginning tendency, I sought out and bought Naked in Death, the first book in her "romantic suspense" series. It's set in the mid-21st century, with subtle changes to the U.S. we know, and follows the work and the love life of New York Police and Security Department cop Eve Dallas. She investigates what turns out to be an old-school murder that looks like the start of a serial killing spree targeting prostitutes.

The book didn't convert me to mysteries or the "romantic suspense" genre, but it was entertaining. Mystery stories (to me) are often these stripped-down plot machines, and with a series like this you should be attracted to the flair of the main character, and Eve Dallas is a sympathetic, driven protagonist.

(It's like what I like in TV cop dramas. The more the series is about the investigators than about the investigated, the more likely I'm to watch. The multiple Law and Order series don't do much for me because they're weighted so heavily towards the mechanices of investigation, with the details of the cop characters coming out in dribs and drabs. (I'd probably like Criminal Intent, as it's more strongly about the cops and their eccentricities, and I recognize the greatness of Vincent D'Onofrio.) I liked NYPD Blue more, and feel Dennis Franz's Andy Sipowicz is a classic TV character. My favorite is still Homicide: Life on the Street, which had FLAIR, yo; jumpy and slightly off-putting editing, some very human and very flawed main characters, and music that messed with you, whether it was Douglas Cuomo's sawing-away-at-your-nerves small-ensemble music or the strangely apropos choices of pop songs.

(This formula for cop shows doesn't always work for me; I've never gotten into the various CSIs for some reason, even though they lean towards the eccentric-investigators side of the equation...)

Without giving too much away, I like that a certain character in Naked in Death you start to think might be a bad guy turns out to be a good guy, as having that plot twist might have been too much of a "let's dump on Eve Dallas" revelation. And it means Eve's more likely to keep getting laid. (Okay, maybe I've revealed too much.) I'll pass the book along to my reading partner Alicia, see if she likes it. (She was impressed with the "Nora Roberts and the ferrets" story, too. Hey, Nora and the Ferrets sounds like an old doo-wop band or something...)
Blow My Mind

Horror tales of theater horror

Wow. Cherie Priest (cmpriest) had a suckariffic audience at The Dark Knight. Sample:
...the people seated behind us behaved as if they’d often heard a movie described, but had never actually been faced with one in person.

I shit thee not when I say that neither one of these idiots appeared to be even vaguely aware of what movie they were attending. I think maybe they’d wandered into the auditorium with a gas can, seeking directions to the oceanfront property they’d been promised in Idaho, and then the lights went out and they couldn’t find an exit so they found a couple of empty seats and made themselves comfortable.
The full horror (idiocy, name-calling, wailing babies and more) is here. It includes the phrase "the sheer stink of stupid." It also includes
I don’t know what the hell is wrong with people.
You’re watching a MOVIE. You know how to BEHAVE.

It’s not some bewildering foreign luncheon with thirteen forks, a roll of silver knives, and a pair of gilded chopsticks beside your plate; you don’t need to speak Klingon or juggle chain saws. All you have to do is SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP. SERIOUSLY, IT’S NOT THAT DIFFICULT.
Whale fluke

Just Say No to snorting bacon salt

As Justin Esch, co-founder of Bacon SaltTM, just admitted on The Rick Emerson Show (podcast available here), people are snorting bacon salt.

Really. (Link probably not safe for either work or sanity.)

Bacon Salt has responded by buying a domain name: Don't Snort It. (Nope, I don't know if it's Dot Com, Dot Org, Dot Net or whatever, so I'm not linking to it. Just the eventual existance of a Don't Snort It website boggles me.)

Happier bacon news available at the official Bacon Salt Blog. Justin also went on Fox Business, where he listed his business influences as Hugh Hefner, Snoop Dogg and Han Solo.