“Come Again” Book Review

“Come Again,” Editor/Contributor Rachel Kramer Bussel’s new anthology invites you into the world of sex toys. Some that exist already, some that may exist in the future, but all that the characters in this collection find a variety of uses for.

There are standard toys used in the usual ways, and non-standard toys used in creative ways that are both amusing and occasionally unexpected. There is love and fun and humor to be found in these stories, and I had a good time reading them.

My favorites were from Jillian Boyd, Katya Harris, E. Bellamy and Chris Komodo. Not all of the situations worked for me, but that’s the good part about collections like this, there is always another idea just around the corner.

Follow the link to learn more. http://www.comeagainbook.com/

I know I’ll never look at a fingernail brush the same way again….

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What’s Your Preference?

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I’ve been collecting comics for a long time now, and I have quite an extensive collection.  I’m a pack rat who doesn’t like to throw anything away, so for the longest time, I was buying the short and long boxes and stacking them in my closet.

The opportunity arose to acquire some filing cabinets, and I thought “This will be AWESOME!” And it was.  I kept my ongoing series (Batman, Detective, Robin, Nightwing and Ultimate Spider-Man) all neatly sorted in drawers, laying them on their sides (bagged and boarded, of course), and turning every 25th one up as a “mile marker” of sorts, to assist in finding a certain issue.

I kept the longboxes, and as I lost interest in things (Flash, Green Lantern, Superman), or as books got canceled, the runs got tucked away in the boxes and out of the active stuff.

Well, the “New 52″ came along, and I gave it a fair shot. I went 11 months, picking up the same titles.  I wasn’t happy with The Court of Owls” showing up in “Batman,” and I HATED Nightwing’s red costume, wasn’t crazy about Damien as Robin, and the less said about Red Robin the better.  They just weren’t my heroes anymore. I decided to stop collecting comics.DC-Comics-New-52-Batman-Nightwing-3

So, with all the books now “inactive” I thought I would take the time to alphabetize and collate them from start to finish, and I’m running into questions.

Do you put all the “Batman” titles together?  I mean, Batman is a given, but it’s “Batman- Detective Comics” and “Batman- Shadow of the Bat” and “Batman- Gordon’s Law” Do those all go in the “B’s?” or D, S and G, respectfully?  And Spider-Man… “Amazing SM goes in the A’s, right? and Ultimate SM goes in the U’s?  But who wants to go bouncing around, when you can just go to the S’s, and Spider-Man is right there?

What are your thoughts? How is your collection of books (doesn’t have to be comics) organized?

PS: I’m keeping track of the New 52 through the collections that my library has and I’m still not impressed, but Matt Fraction’s “Sex Criminals” has pulled me back into picking up at least one title on a regular basis.  In digital format, which is a subject for a different blog, I think. http%3A%2F%2F24.media.tumblr.com%2Ftumblr_m8mcf4BU1s1qar3qoo1_400 (2)

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“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”

 

Over on http://booksnobbery.wordpress.com/ , A bunch of people have been posting their experiences with Middle Earth. I had asked SJ if I could contribute, and she said sure.  Life got in the way and I missed my deadline.  I powered through, and to get it under the wire of Tolkien Month, I’ll just leave this here…

Ok, I confess. I’m not a Tolkien nerd. I didn’t read the Trilogy as a kid, I didn’t fall in love with Middle Earth, and while I’m aware it’s akin to blasphemy among the die hard Tolkienares, I find Peter Jackson’s LOTR movies very watchable.

 

And While I realize admitting this may cost me valuable style points,  I never read the trilogy as a younger man. I had always meant to, and just never got around to it. I read “Fellowship” after watching the movie, and it was page after page of traveling and traveling and more traveling and then a massive fight that took 10 min of screen time wound up as a four line paragraph. I passed on reading “Towers” and “Return.”

 

 

Then I heard about The Hobbit movie. I found myself thinking, “How can they get three movies out of one book?” Because I had fooled myself into thinking I had read The Hobbit as a kid.

 

 

I remember watching parts of the Bakashi movie. I remember the Frazetta artwork of the RingWraiths, and I remember reading the bits in the book where they are attacked by the spiders and caught, and the pinching of the noses and subsequent escape, but as I sat in the theater watching PJ’s movie play out, with the endless Tea with the Dwarves, and the long chase through the Goblin tunnels and the flaming trees and the confrontation with Thorin’s arch- enemy, I found myself thinking, “I don’t remember any of this.”

 

 

I resolved to reread the book and find out just what the heck was going on.

 

 

Turns out that, except for the bit with the spiders, I don’t remember reading any other parts of the book.

 

 

Which isn’t to say I didn’t like it. I enjoyed the narrative style and the occasional asides were fine, except when it seemed like Deus ex Machina; “Did I mention that Mirkwood feeds on despair? Our travelers don’t!” (and never do) and “I know I’ve been telling you all about Bilbo, but I’m going to wait 150 pages before I tell you what great aim he has. You know, right when it’s the only thing that’s going to get our heroes out of this jam!” But it didn’t happen too often.

 

 

I saw where PJ played a little fast and loose with some of the events, and it does seem a little excessive. It was nice to find out why the Eagles couldn’t just take them to the mountain, but that just makes their showing up for the Battle of the Five Armies a little confusing. But like I learned from reading “The Dark Tower” and watching “Lost,” it’s the journey, not the destination.

 

 

And if nothing else, one feeling The Hobbit brought forth was wanderlust. This journey, however unexpected for me, has evoked a feeling of wanting to travel (curiously, in the mountains. Someplace called Doom. All the travel guides are raving about it.), and seeing who I meet along the way. Or perhaps more accurately, who I didn’t meet in the movies.

 

 

Upon finishing “The Hobbit” I had two thoughts. One was a curiosity as to how PJ was going to visualize all of this, and that I can’t wait for the next reread opportunity. Is Middle Earth by BFF? Not yet, but this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

 

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I love you and I’m letting you go.

I love you and I’m letting you go.

It’s been a long road
time spent
a lot of friends
came and went

The week in the highlands,
getting lost in the lowlands
and everywhere in between

we thought nothin could touch us
we knew that our bond was strong
don’t think it’s easy for me
it just has to be
I love you and I’m letting you go.

the best years, the brightest days
those long passionate nights
everything just felt right
something nameless changed
impossible to explain
I love you and I’m letting you go.

two roads diverged in a woods
I chose mine without a thought
I looked back you were gone
just a line in a song
I love you and I’m letting you go.

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Trip Trip to Raleigh

So, a week before my mother’s 75th birthday party, she broke her leg. As a result, she had to come stay with us while she recovered, because we have a wheelchair ramp and a roll in shower, which made her day to day life a little easier to manage.

The day before the party, my wife developed cellulitis in her left leg, spent two days in the hospital, and missed the party entirely.

Partially because of that, after the birthday party, Mom decided to go with my sister (and her husband and kids) to her house in Raleigh. To give us a break, and to spend time with my sister, of course.

The trick was, she had an appointment with her Dr. 4 weeks out, but also didn’t have an exit plan from Raleigh. So, as the day grew closer, the idea was born that the wife and I would jump in our car and drive down to get her. We hadn’t properly road tripped our 06 Ford Taurus yet, and while there was always the risk of something going wrong, we decided to go for it. We had a 5 day window to get this done, so we checked Google Maps, updated the GPS on our phones, and planned to stay in Chillicothe Ohio the first night.

I had to work (third shift) the night before we left. I got home, took a quick nap (From about 7 to 10 AM), and we took off an hour earlier than planned. So far, so good, right? We had never gone east further than Indianapolis, so most of the trip was going to be virgin territory for us.

First surprise, the air conditioning decided not to cooperate. After running for about an hour or so, it would slowly decrease in effectiveness, and you would have to shut it off for a while before it would work again. Not ideal, and we were already in Indiana before we discovered that little treat.

Traffic wasn’t bad, although I really wish people who drive on the interstate would use their cruse controls to maintain steady speeds. I had a couple of road rage issues because I hate to shut off the cruse control, and inevitably, the left lane would be clear for miles, until I got close enough to the car in front of me to consider passing at which point a car would magically appear in the left lane moving like a bat out of hell, delaying my pass until I had no choice but to slow down.

This irritates me for two reasons. One, because it kills momentum, and the car has to work harder to get back up to speed, and two…. well, ok, maybe that’s the main reason. I know, it’s silly, but there it is.

So we went 344 miles before gassing up at a gas station on “Needmor Road” in Dayton Ohio. That was my favorite road name of the trip, btw. Then, I promptly got us off track by missing an exit onto the road that was going to take us to Chilicothe, but I knew what direction we had to go, and the GPS concurred, although it didn’t like the route I chose, but we were heading in the right direction before too much time had passed. Eventually it saw things my way.

Now I had presumed Chillicothe was going to be a little bump in the road, and I could not have been more wrong. The main street through town was 7 lanes wide! A ridiculous number of route’s and highways converged there, and once again, I made a slight navigational error on the way to the hotel. Another consult with the GPS got us back to where we needed to be, and as a pleasant surprise, the hotel upgraded us to a Suite. Made me wish we were staying longer than one night! After a dip in the pool, we headed out for some sustenance, we would up at a Big Boy burger place, and all I can say is, Meh. Wife liked the tuna melt, though.

We hit the road the next morning by 7:30 and about a half hour down the road, the wife realized she had forgotten her pillow in the room. Well, that necessitated an immediate U-turn, because if there is one thing you don’t mess with, it’s my wife’s pillow. 🙂

West Virginia promised to be “Wild and Wonderful” according to the licence plates, and it certainly lived up to the hype. Between the mountains with their runaway truck ramps and 5% down grade over two miles, the W.G.Walker Mountain Tunnel and the East River Mountain tunnel, Once we got through all of that (and crossing Virginia, which is for lovers (of Mountain roads), I had to take a break at the North Carolina Welcome Center. Where no one actually said “Welcome,” but considering the wind and traffic noise had left me a little rattled, I might not have heard them anyway.

The end of this leg was near. My sister lives in Raleigh, so why the GPS took us down the road marked “Dunham” is beyond me, but I had been trained to follow the machine, so there I went. and just when we were 6 miles away, the app crashed. We may as well have been on the dark side of the moon for all I knew were we were or needed to go. Fortunately, a restart of the phone got things back on track, and about 4:30, we rolled into my sisters driveway.

We would only be there for 16 hours..
To be Continued…

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In which I have some thoughts about books, and realise how ignorant I can be.

So I’m reading Twitter last night, and I see this series of posts from @thebooksluts. (Used with permission)
Insatiable Booksluts ‏@thebooksluts

“Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book.”
Sorry, but I have no sentimentality for paperbacks. I don’t want it forced on me. Some books need hard copy; this one doesn’t.
A book that is photo-heavy, or one that has special formatting a la House of Leaves: Yes. A pulp paperback, no.

I interjected with a question: “I guess I’m confused here… Why do you feel that “Joyland” is being forced on you? Did I miss something?”

She replied: “with his (Stephen King’s-ta) choice to publish it only in paperback because of his own pulp paperback nostalgia. /shrug, as a consumer, I don’t appreciate my formats being limited because of the author’s feelings about formats.”

And that’s cool, because I suppose everyone’s got their opinions, but it got me thinking about the books I read when I was younger, and the ones I read now that I’m aware of different options in format and availability.

What I mean by that is, options like the library, so you can read it for free, new book stores, used book stores, Hardcover, paperback, trade paperback and of course the E-book format that didn’t even exist when I was a younger man.

My Mom worked at a bookstore when I was in junior high and High School, and I would go and visit her at work and pick up the odd book here and there, and I remember most of them being paperbacks.  Brian Daley’s “Han Solo at Star’s End?” (And the two sequels) Paperback.  David Morrell’s “First Blood?” paperback.  Most of the early Stephen King I read ( Started with “Carrie,” and  jumped to “Firestarter”, eh, I digress) was in paperback, and format didn’t matter, I just wanted to read the story.

As I got older, and started paying attention to when books were coming out and understood that you had to wait for paperback, I decided that I would buy all the Stephen King in hardcover, because it looks totally badass to have an entire bookcase stuffed with Stephen King hardcovers, and of course I read them at the time, because to not read your favorite author when you have the book in your hands is silly.  (My exception to that was “The Dark Tower” series, where I have the trade paper, ’cause I bought the first three as a set, and since I classify DT as a seperate body of work from “mainstream” King, it made sense to me. The exception to THAT exception is Book 7, because I found a hardcover version in a library book sale room and who am I to blow against the wind? But I digress, again.)

When the paperback came out, I would buy what I termed my “Reader’s Copy,” because I want to re-read the story, but hardcovers can be bulky, awkward and hard to travel with.  Those of you who read my last blog about book size relating to comfort know what I’m saying. And yes, E-readers (I have a nook) make the concept of “reading copies” easier to deal with.

Which brings me back around to the “Joyland” controversy. I see King’s point. The “HARD CASE CRIME” imprint, as I understand it, is a throwback to the pulpy style of crime novels back from World War II through the 1960s, and obviously, E-books didn’t exist back then, and they were/are meant to be paperback. King also expressed an interest in getting people back into physical bookstores.  Noble goals to be sure, and that’s how it was done back in the day, so that’s fine too.

(Yeah, I know there’s an audio version.  Don’t get me started on that.  “Blood and Smoke” was supposed to be audio-only, but all three stories wound up in “Everything’s Eventual,” and “1408” made it to the movie screens.)

So I wondered what the big deal was.  Then I read this:

http://booksnobbery.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/joyland-you-bring-me-no-joy/

And I realized what a close-minded jerk I was.  Not thinking about the bigger picture of people with arthritis and allergies and not being able to focus on audio books. I am fortunate enough that, even with a cataract in one eye (post vitrectomy for a detached retina), that I am still able to read regular paper books (and signs, and drive and on and on).

So I say bring on the E version of “Joyland.” Unky Steve, I say this with all the love in the world for your work (Except “Tommynockers,” that one didn’t work for me.), it’s a brave new world out there.  Set “Joyland” free so everyone can enjoy it too.

Thank you for your time and attention.

PS: IMHO, the reviewer that SJ quoted in her post is disillusioned.  Yes books are fun.  But they are also our friends. I certanly don’t crack my friends spines or half drown them in a pool. (If you’re in a pool, SWIM!) I confess to creasing a corner or 5 before I knew better, but to say “Only real book lovers know what I mean” about “literary emergencies?” I hope your high horse steps into a hole and you fall off the horse into a puddle of mud. Where I’m sure YOUR books will be happy.

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How comfortable are you with your book?

I realized something the other day.  While I’m enjoying the plot, characters and action of “Storm of Swords,” the third book in the “Song of Ice and Fire” series by George R.R. Martin, I’m not enjoying the actual physical book itself.  I’m reading it in paperback, so it’s this thick, rather heavy lump of paper that even I, with my abnormally large hands, have trouble holding with one hand while I’m eating lunch, and even with two hands it feels almost like an isometric exercise than reading for pleasure.

I checked “The Making of The Empire Strikes Back” by J.W. Rinzler out of the library, and it’s a foot wide by eleven inches tall and is ungodly heavy.  It fits on my lap well, but the print is tiny, making it an altogether different kind of uncomfortable reading experience.

I loved reading Joe Hill‘s “NOS4A2,” but somewhere along the line, the decision was made to have the actual paper trimmed to slightly different lengths on the side (And I’m sure there’s a name for this process, but I don’t know what it’s called), and while it’s not as cumbersome as odd book sizes and weight, it made turning the pages (which I was doing as quickly as possible) a little bit tricky.

I don’t know who makes these decisions, and I really love physical books.  I enjoy my nook as well, but there’s something about turning the physical pages and feeling the paper and the balance changes as you progress through things.  Have any of you read a book that you had management issues with?

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The Warehouse

 

This is part of a longer story that i’ve been stuck on for a while.  I’m hoping some reaction on here will give me a little perspective, because I’ve been in it too long.  Hope you enjoy..  (Let me know either way, will you?)

The warehouse at Trinity and 39thwas huge.  Taking up a full city block, it was a maze of old office furniture, construction material, books, tools and interestingly enough, a full sized functioning Scrambler ride that could have been plucked from any county fair or cherry festival.  Indeed, it was the only thing in the place not covered in a thick layer of dust and cobwebs.

I wasn’t that interested in who was maintaining it, or why it was even there at the moment, I was trying to get my head to stop ringing and clear the blood from my mouth.  A very large man, whose name I hadn’t caught, was winding up to hit me again, and self-preservation was paramount. Sucker punching bastard.

I took a step towards Sucker Punch when I saw his fist start to come forward, and I grabbed his wrist and pulled and used his momentum to get him off balance and throw him into a pile of file cabinets.  I didn’t stop to see if he had been knocked out, he was off of his feet, and for right now that’s all I needed. I had to find Condis. I ran up an isle past the Scrambler, and hung a left at a collection of Christmas Trees that they hang on the light poles at Christmas time. I was trying to get to the office space near the center of the place. Baring any hidden pockets here on the main floor, that’s where they would have taken him.

We had been on a “pop,” and something had gone bad. I, of course was in the car, about a half a block away from the location. Condis can be a freaking shadow when he really needs to be, but we didn’t know about the pressure sensitive floor in Randolph’s hallway, and that had released the knock-out gas (talk about old-school) that did him in. It was sheer luck that I had seen the henchmen (Including Sucker Punch) carrying Condis out to a panel van, and of course, I called it in and followed. The Boss would follow the lo-jack in the car, and help would get there when it got there.

I knew, pulling up to the warehouse, I didn’t have time to wait. The place was too big, and I didn’t want Condis dead yet. Besides, the best time to attack is before the enemy gets settled. I had to go in fast and stealthy, no gun. Times like this, I’m glad I carry a knife.

As I ran up to the building by an open window, I could hear the rattle of a garage door echoing in the huge space. I needed to open my window a little more to get through it, and now was the time. I took a deep breath, clicked into Job Mode and pushed upwards, the squeak of the weathered window frame lost in the noise of the door.  I dove in, and took cover by a palate of boxes that were labeled to be shipped to Truth or Consequences, NM.  I peeked around the corner to get my bearings, and that’s when I got punched.  Consequences, indeed.

I wondered if Sucker Punch had any buddies as I made my way faster than I should have towards the stairs leading to the office in the center of the building, head on full swivel mode, knife in hand.  And just like that, I saw another thug come around the corner, and without thinking, the knife left my hand and planted itself in his neck.  I pulled it out as I went past, moving too quickly for the blood to splash me.

I was in Kobra Kai mode; Strike first, Strike Hard, NO MERCY and I let my momentum carry me up the stairs and through the office door, figuring the longer I waited, the worse my odds were going to get.  I hit the door with enough force to smack it against the back of the head of the idiot who was standing directly on the other side of it, and threw an elbow into the face of the guy standing next to him, breaking his nose.  A quick look showed me three other people in the room, Condis, who apparently was still unconscious, slumped over in a chair, and the two guys standing over him trying to make sure their prey wasn’t going to slump to the floor.

They were a little startled by my entrance, but by the time I took down the guys by the door, they had started to draw guns.  I looked quickly for some cover.

Condis, whose state of unconsciousness was greatly underestimated by everyone in the room apparently, did his moving without moving trick, and rising from the chair, kicked one guy in the face hard enough to knock him out while grabbing the still moving gun arm of the second mook, twisting it behind his back so by the time the guy’s fingers squeezed the trigger, he sent the shot though his own skull.  Yeah, that impressed me.

Have a nice nap?” I said.  “Shut up. I held my breath when I saw the gas, been awake the whole time”, he said.  “Fine, “I replied “let’s go.”

Come to find out, the guy who was doing the prep for the job overlooked the plans for the pressure sensitive floor. And the order form for the knockout gas.  After Condis caught up to him, he was never quite the same, but he never missed anything again.

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I am the Hulk.

“That’s my secret, Cap: I’m always angry.” – Bruce Banner

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I was recently told that I need to control my temper and stop yelling and it has really made me look at myself and what makes me angry.

Turns out, there’s quite a bit.  It boils down to one simple thing.  I want people to follow rules.

Stop at stop signs. Park in the Employee parking lot. Wear your uniform. Don’t speed or drive too slow (Anyone faster than you is an idiot, anyone slower is a moron.) When you’re walking towards someone, bear right, just like you do when driving.  Prevents the “Crowded Walkway Dance of (No) Joy.” The list goes on.

And a lot of it is stuff I can’t control and i really need to recognize that. For instance, right now?  I can’t think of what else to put in this post and it’s making me angry.  Hell, I haven’t even been able to add anything to my story that I talked about in my first post.

Guess I’ll just tie a knot and hang on.

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So I was thinking about starting a blog, I was trying to think of a theme, or a hook that the blog could have. There was a guy who did a Year of Billy Joel, writing (and posting daily) about Billy Joel’s music. And that seemed pretty cool, and I was thinking about doing “A Year Of Batman” re-reading my Batman comic collection and posting an issue a day, and I was going to start on New Years Day, but then The Boy came down with Flu “B” and spent the first 19 days of the year in the hospital. So there went that idea.

 

Then, I came across this on Twitter.

Jon Winokur@AdviceToWriters

Use your blog to connect. Use it as you. Don’t ˙network” or ˙promote.” Just talk. NEIL GAIMAN

And let’s face it, who am I to argue with the man behind Sandman? (Or American Gods?)

So, I’m going to talk here. I’m going to talk about a lot of things. Some movie, TV, and book opinions, some life events, you know, little of this little of that.

Ok, so let’s dive in, ok?

I’m excited about getting back to work on a story I’m writing that I haven’t worked on in a while but based on “last modified” dates, I’ve been working on for four years.

It’s currently at 18 pages.

And then I read this

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/02/20/how-to-push-past-the-bullshit-and-write-that-goddamn-novel-a-very-simple-no-fuckery-writing-plan-to-get-shit-done/

So I was wound up and ready to go, and discovered that none of the versions on my laptop were current enough and I had to find the flash drive where the latest iteration was. So I did that, and was all ready to start, then, my father in law took a turn for the worse and passed, so the last three days were consumed by more important things.

 

Tomorrow’s a new day, though. Join me on the journey?

Aside