Archive for the “Dorkness” Category

I’m really, really trying to do at least one update a month, and clearly I’m really, really failing. What’s even worse is I’m currently on vacation, so it’s not like I don’t have time right now.

Anywho, if it wasn’t obvious or if I never mentioned it, I love to read. I have more books than I know what to do with (and I’m actually in the process of giving (literal) boxes of them to friends of ones that I just know I won’t go back to, or I have it in the eBook format. Like stuff you’d find on the NY Times bestselling list; Harry Potter, John Grisham, just shit I don’t need on my bookshelves. I really just want harder-to-find books there (like first editions and ’70s and ’80s movie novelizations; my latest drug). Or novels I will no doubt re-read (like King).

My Kindle has made this possible more than anything else. I know that a lot of readers shit on the Kindle, saying things like, “A Kindle doesn’t have the feel of a real book!” and “You can’t smell the pages of a Kindle!” Well, I call bullshit. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing I would love more than to own a gigantic house where I would have a gigantic library, but I live in reality and you there is no good reason why I would need a physical copy John Grisham’s The Firm taking up valuable shelf space when I can have a Limited Edition of Joe Lansdale in its place.

One thing that’s been invaluable in building my eBook collection is Calibre, a free piece of software that is not just an amazing tool to organize your collection, but does a slew of other things, including grabbing and modifying metadata, covers, putting your titles in collections (like Jack Reacher #1, Jack Reacher #2, etc.) and much, much, MUCH more. In addition, you can connect to Calibre wirelessly as long as you have it running, and you can transfer books on the fly.

It gets even better. I have this app on my phone that gives me Google Play Store credit for answering little surveys (generally no more than five questions). Granted, it’s not a lot of money, usually between $0.12 and $0.26, but that really adds up. I was sitting on just over $30 in credit today when an email came through offering me $5 off any book purchase in the Play Store. After some Google searching and program downloading, I head to the Play Store and grabbed Paul Tremblay’s Disappearance at Devil’s Rock for basically free.

Now, because everyone has to be fighting, and everyone has to have their proprietary bullshit, you can’t just buy a book from Google and put it on your Kindle. However, if you do the following, you can very easily convert your purchase to read on your Kindle:

  1. Get the DeDRM tools from here, and follow the instructions on adding the plugin to Calibre
  2. Install Adobe Digital Editions and open the book you purchased and it will convert it to epub.
  3. Go back to Calibre and you’ll now be able to convert that epub to a version you can read on your Kindle.

I’m oversimplifying a bit (it took me a little trial and error, but I got it going), but once you got it down, it opens up some more possibilities when it comes to finding deals on eBooks.

Oh, and I recently started using my library card to “check out” eBooks too. I know, right!?! That’s how I read the latest Reacher novel.

I shit you not, sometimes I feel like Henry Bemis in Time Enough at Last.

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The toughest thing for me when it comes to writing a review for my site is the starting sentence or graph. Hell, that’s tough for most writers. But (again) for me, I find it far easier to jump right into a blog post (when I bother to do one) than to start the first words of a review.

As I was pondering how I was going to start the review for this book I recently finished, the words came to me rather quickly. It’s going to start with, “When I was a kid, my favorite things to read — before King became part of my library — were…” And as I was finishing that thought in my head, I realized not only was I happy with where that’s going to go, but I had the idea for a new blog entry as well.

When I was  kid, my favorite things to read — before King became part of my library — were Encyclopedia Brown, Choose Your Own Adventure, and anything Bigfoot, UFO, or Loch Ness. The latter three I’ll be discussing in said upcoming review, but the first two? Let’s talk about them now.

For those that didn’t have the luxury of growing up with Leroy “Encyclopedia” Brown, he was a kid that solved mysteries for $0.25 a day (plus expenses). I have to be honest here, I don’t remember any stories (c’mon! It’s been over 30 years, easy), but I do remember the solution for one because at the time it was so damn slick. I don’t recall what, exactly, Brown was investigating, I just remember it happened to do with a lady in white who was seen on the beach at night, BUT SHE LEFT NO TRACKS! Was she a ghost? Had someone murdered her, forever making her wander the last place she took a breath? It certainly was a mystery…and Encyclopedia Brown was on the case! Eventually, it turned out that whoever was walking on the beach in that white dress (seriously, I can’t remember) had put a piece of cardboard in the train (maybe it was a wedding dress) and it was weighted just enough that it was smoothing out the sand behind her, thus leaving no footprints. How genius is that? And that kid Brown, well he’s a smart cookie. As I was looking for pictures of covers, it appears that the series is still in print, so I’m pleased that a younger generation will get the same glee as me from reading these.


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When I wasn’t reading Encyclopedia Brown solving mysteries, I was tearing into Choose Your Own Adventure books. If you didn’t experience CYOA as a kid, well, I’m sorry your childhood sucked.

If you don’t know what a CYOA book is, it’s exactly what it sounds like…you choose your own adventure. Basically, you read a page or two, and then you make a choice. If you choose one way, go to page five. If you choose another, go to page nine. And you kept making choices until you ran out of them. Then you started all over. And these books were so popular, which was fantastic for us fans because there were TONS of them. Below are just a few of the titles, and you can see a nice sized picture of even more here.


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In addition to having a ton to choose from, the series’ popularity of course spawned knockoffs. The best of which were the Dungeons and Dragons’ Endless Quest books. It was like two of my favorite things got smashed together into something wonderful.


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I’m not the type to pine over the things I had in childhood, wishing I still had them. But, man, outside of all of my Star Wars toys (if only to sell), I would love to have all of these sitting on my bookshelf now.

   

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Kevin, Mike, Laura, Me

Kevin, Mike, Laura, Me

I have said before and I’ll say again, I have some pretty cool friends. One of the sweetest things I’ve gained from the site I co-run is the friendship of many of the local filmmakers in my area. And if there’s one thing all low-budget filmmakers have in common, it’s the fact that they are always looking for someone to help out. Because of this, I’ve been on quite a few film sets to lend a hand. I really have zero interest in either starring in a movie or even making one, but I do like watching the process quite a bit, and being eager to help them out gets me right there in the thick of it.

For the past few months, one of my buddies has been part of an anthology project. So far I’ve been part of two of the three (?) stories, and two weeks ago I helped out on a Friday and Saturday (late night shoots, no less) with the wraparound story of the film. (On a side note, if you ever want to hear a fantastic tale about one of the days we shot in the woods, just ask. If I know you well enough, I’ll tell you. Just say, “choke me” and I’ll fill you in.)

For those that may not know, an anthology film consists of a couple stories, and the wraparound is the piece that holds them all together. For example, in Creepshow, the wraparound was the cartoon with the kid and the comic. That’s what we were to be working on two weeks ago (not the kid and the comic, but the wraparound for the movie my buddy is making). It was great because it was going to be a small set, I knew most of the people there, and it was going to be indoors the entire time. That last part was a blessing, for various reasons. The only two people I didn’t know were Brad and Laura, two actors who are the stars of the wraparound. Also on hand were Matt (who is playing two roles in this movie, interestingly enough), Kevin the director, Zig (who was only there Friday and had to leave due to an emergency called LAZINESS, just kidding, it was a real emergency), and Mike, who is a wizard and was there for wizardry and other helpful things. Oh, there were some special effects folks and two of Kevin’s friends there on Saturday too.

I’m not going to get too much what happened on set, other than I had a blast. which is interesting because according to Kevin, things were quite difficult. That’s not to say he’s right, he no doubt is, because I’m more or less there to help out. I have no idea what’s going on with the technical side of things. This is basically how I spend my time on set:

Busy checking Facebook.

I’m NOT checking Facebook. I’m…uh…doing some research for Kevin about…uh…sound or something.

When I’m not looking clueless like the above picture and/or helping out setting up the next shot, much of the time on set is spent talking with everyone else there, and that is my second favorite part of helping out these cats. Because, generally, everyone on set is a film fan (naturally) and the main discussion is generally movies or TV (or, in the case of this set, football because two of us were Redskins fans, one was a Eagles fan (boo!) and one was a Miami fan (whateves). Since ‘Skins just lost to Miami and were due to play Eagles, there naturally was some shit talking.

When we weren’t talking about football, Laura and I were dropping lines from Bob’s Burgers (which was AWESOME because not enough people watch that show) and Archer, and then the discussion got even better because we talked about Richard Matheson stories. That’s when the long hours on the set are worth it, the bullshit discussions in a room full of people where everyone has the same interests. It’s kind of like a nerd convention, but far more intimate.

Plus, with Zig gone on Saturday, I got a lot more involved than I normally do on sets. I did a lot of sound and lighting. That’s what I usually do, but I did even more of it and by the end of the shoot, I was more or less (hopefully) rolling with what Kevin wanted without having to ask him (meaning, I was getting the feel for how much light he needed and where he needed me for sound). He still…directed me, don’t get me wrong, but I was better at him directing me less. At least I hope so and it wasn’t him just giving up on me.

It was two long but fun nights, and if I’m not mistaken, Kevin’s done with shooting his part of this anthology. That’s the bittersweet moment for me because I know I won’t be on a set until his next film (assuming he’ll let me hang out) but it also means now the movie is in editing mode, so I’m closer to seeing the fruits of my labor (what little of it there was).

All in all, it was a great weekend, and it always is. Of all the sets I’ve been on, Kevin’s are my favorite. Even if the sonofabitch is a taskmaster.

Oh, one final thing! My new favorite line, “It’s okay, he has glowsticks.” I will always laugh when someone says that too me.

Thumbs up for Jesus!

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I’m overdue for another entry (but, all things considered, I’m doing pretty fucking good here lately), but I think I’m going to start dropping stuff I find interesting here too. I posted this video on my Facebook wall awhile back, as well as the HorrorTalk Facebook wall, but I still find it rather fascinating and I want to have it someplace that’s easily searchable.

Plus, my buddy James and I will be watching The Exorcist in a few weeks here for a pretty cool reason (it will be his first time seeing it, I’m very excited for him), so this is going to be pretty timely for a few reasons.

Anyway, if you have ever seen The Exorcist, this is a pretty damn cool 20-minute mini-documentary on its impact. Well worth the time to watch. (James, if you are reading this, wait until after you see the film.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSVHpX1CDN8

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I meant to mention…well, who am I kidding. I knew I wasn’t going to mention what else happened Saturday night at the convention because I liked my closer too much and there was no good way to segue into this small but mildly entertaining incident that happened after Deebo had yelled at the unfit mother.

Not too long after he walked away, maybe 15 – 30 minutes, the fire alarm went off and everyone had to go outside. I was sure it was one of the convention attendee jackasses that set it off, some of those people do get a little rowdy, but it turns out it was faulty equipment. I still don’t know if I believe that story.

Anywho, we got to see some firetrucks. I don’t care how old you are, firetrucks are always cool. Here’s a picture so you can relive the experience with me:

Firetruck

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