Archive for March, 2005

Clocky, where are you?

Friday, March 25th, 2005

I need to get one of these for my wife. She’s not good at getting out of bed, and this could be the perfect solution (unless she smashes it to little bits).

I’m a long time hater of alarm clocks. I don’t like be awoken to the standard alarm noise. It fills me with rage almost the second I wake up, which is a crummy way to start the day. See, I’m not a morning person until I get out of bed, and then things change (usually). I’m quite happy with my Digital Zen Alarm Clock. At least I was, until just now, when I saw they have a new verison with a silent strike mechanism. It wakes me up with a single peacful chime, which will repeat itself at progressivly shorter intervals if I fail to get up. It very rarely chimes more than once.

Harry Potter and the Book Cover Hype

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6)

Look, I’m as excited as the next person to get my hands on the next Harry Potter (although no one seems to be offering the audiobook for preorder yet), but why did I just see the cover on the news? Why did every bookstore, online and off, feel the need to email me a copy of said cover? The book has two different covers in the UK, neither of which is the cover shown here.

Why are the “news” stories making a big deal about the fact that the cover may have something to do with the story. It’s the cover. Most books seem to have covers, and a lot of them have images on them. Sometimes they have something to do w ith the book. Not news.

Review: The Walking Dead Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

You may not know this, but I love a good zombie movie. The kind where the whole world is turning into zombies and small bands of isolated humans try to survive. I love them for the stories. Tales of people cracking under the pressure of seeing everything and everyone they know destroyed before their eyes. Happy stories, where you start to see the line between human and zombie blur. The greatest of these films is probably George Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead. I can’t avoid mentioning the greatness of Shaun of the Dead either, but I’ll save that for later.

The Walking Dead is an attempt to do a long form zombie story. The goal, as stated by writer Robert Kirkman in the introduction, is to keep the story going and not roll credits “as soon as it starts getting good”. Although The Walking Dead is listed as a horror book, it’s not designed to scare you. It’s about the characters, and that’s what makes it work.

The book opens with Officer Rick Grimes being shot in the line of duty. On the next page he wakes up in an empty hospital, having been in a comma for some time. This seemed right out of 28 Days Later (which is great, but is not a zombie movie) but I’m not really sure which was released first. Rick witnesses some zombies, freaks out and heads on home. He finds the house empty. He meets up with a father and son squatting in his neighbors house and they fill him in on what’s been going on. People had been ordered to evacuate to larger cities so they would be centralized for protection. Rick assumes his family will be there and heads on into Atlanta.

Rick finds the city over run with zombies, and is rescued for certain death by a young man who offers to take him back to a camp where he and some other survivors are living. This is where the story really starts going. Rick’s wife and son are at the camp, along with Shane, Rick’s partner. They weren’t able to get into the city, and met up with some others.

There’s a great cast of characters here, all learning to survive together. There is a large amount of tension between Rick and Shane. Rick wants to move away from the city, but Shane insists that the government or the army will come to save. Shane is also in love with Rick’s wife, and neither of them expected Rick to come back.

The artwork by Tony Moore is nicely done in toned black and white. The tones remind me of early Mirage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which I always found moody and evocative. Here it fits like a glove. It really helps focus the attention on the story, and not the gore. I don’t think I’d like this book nearly as much as I do if it was in color.

Overall I really enjoyed the first volume. It didn’t start out great, but it got there in the end. My only other complaint is that it moves a bit too fast. I wish there was more time taken to enjoy the character development. I’ve got the second one, and I’ll try to review that soon.

Writing, Hurting, Filing, Reading, etc.

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

I’m doing my best to do some writing on the novel every single day. I’m not going to make my original goal for finishing the first draft of the novel by the end of April, but it should be close (I hope). The back is getting better, but it still bothers me, especially when I sit at the computer for too long. I started going back to Kung-Fu class last week, which is good and bad. I got used to having more time, but I really need to go. I enjoy it immensely, and I need the exercise.

Denise and I are going through all our paperwork in an attempt to organize the filing cabinet, safe, and boxes of papers marked “Important“. A lot of them aren’t, or at least not anymore. We burned out our last shredder and bought a new one. It was cheap but I hope it’ll at least last a year.

I started reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, and I’m really enjoying it. Thanks to Del for mentioning it recently.

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

Friday, March 4th, 2005
The Dark Tower VII : The Dark Tower

I first heard Stephen King read these words, the opening paragraph from The Gunslinger, ten years ago on a Sunday night, driving back to college. Tonight, driving back from my first Kung-Fu class in a month, I finished the final installment, The Dark Tower