how YOU doin’?

fish eggs, fish eggs, roly-poly fish eggs

Saturday has become miscellaneous errand day since I’m working again. Today I went to the library to renew Hearts in Atlantis — working also means less time to read — and turn in Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: JonBenét and the City of Boulder. That one was interesting, because Lawrence Schiller wasn’t trying to sell his personal pet theory of the murder, just presenting the facts. Which means I still have no fucking clue who killed JonBenét Ramsey. I guess it will never be solved. If it was Patsy Ramsey (there is no single case on record of a mother garrotting her child, ever), she’s already dead.

I also checked out an awesome commemorative edition of pretty much every story H.P. Lovecraft ever wrote, it’s called (of course) The Necronomicon and has a leather cover with a be-tentacled Cthulhu stamped in silver. The librarian gave me the hairy eyeball, because everyone who works at that library is Super Catholic and also dumber than a sack of hair. The Necronomicon isn’t a real thing, people! It’s just a word that Lovecraft made up and that every writer/filmmaker has been ripping off since in homage!!

What was funny is there was a deeply weird poster hanging right behind her. It was your standard “Make waves!” slogan, exorting kids to read during their summer vacay; but the illustration was this like, robed, fiercesome Ram Wizard God, with cryptic symbols all over his enourmous curly horns and blank black eyes, standing upright and being pulled through a stormy ocean by tethered killer whales. Which looked like tadpoles, so he was also GIANT. I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING, YOU GUYS. Oh man, I wanted to take a cell cam photo so bad, but my battery was dead! Maybe I’ll try again the next time I’m there; if some parent (or nun) doesn’t wig out, it will probably be hanging all summer.

Then after that I went to Lafayette. I went to S&P Oriental Grocery again — that name used to make me wince, then I remembered it’s not politically incorrect to refer to things as “Oriental”, just people. This time I found lychee jellies, wasabi furikake, and dashi soup stock. Which means I can make chawan mushi.

Then I went to Target for new sunglasses, where I also got a new pea soup green purse, because it was on clearance for $17.48, and pea soup green is a color sadly lacking in my wardrobe.

THEN I went to Rouses for bento stuff. They not only have tobiko, they have the kind DYED GREEN WITH WASABI WHAT. They also had the black squid ink tobiko, but I don’t care for that. Squid ink has a taste like white paper to me. It’s faint but unpleasant. I also got pickled baby carrots, because a true Japanese bento always has a pickle course. I’m going to make mini sushi rolls for my next one. It will be awesome.

The ‘rents are going to some party in Breaux Bridge later this afternoon. I was invited and probably would have gone, but it’s OUTSIDE. NO THANK YOU. So instead I’m going to settle down with a 6-pack of Honey Moon and watch On Demand every episode of this season of Leverage. I watched the season premiere this morning and realized how much I missed it when Eliot “the Hitter” paused in the middle of beating the shit out of a crooked prison guard, growled “Look at me”, then continued to beat the shit out him. Oh, Christian Kane. I’ve almost forgotten you played Lindsey “Evil Hand!” McDonald way back when on Angel.

stitching & stephen king

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I didn’t get a lot done this weekend. I felt more like reading than watching movies.

Starting The Dark Tower must have whetted my appetite for Stephen King, I read Night Shift for the first time in about 20 years. Some of the stories have held up well; some of them are cheeeeesy as hell. One thing that consistently annoys me about old Stephen King is that almost none of his female characters had jobs. It’s like they only existed to nag the male characters so they could fantasize about popping them in the mouth and the reader could go “Wow, they’re both pieces of shit”, and then not mind too much when they get carved up by, say, psychotic religious brats and their Old Testament corn god.

I love The Shining, and it’s truly a great novel, one that I think will still be in print 100 years from now. But it drives me CRAZY when Wendy is dithering about how she can’t leave Jack because the only place she can go with Danny is back to her mother, who she hates. What the fuck woman, get a damn job! Aren’t you a college graduate?! I mean, it was the late ’70s, not the ’50s. There was plenty of precedent for single women supporting themselves; my mother did it with THREE kids and NO college education.

Sometimes I wonder if the strong female characters he wrote in the ’90s — Dolores Claiborne, Tricia McFarland, Rose Daniels — was not an effort, conscious or unconscious, to make up for the fact that so many of the female characters in his earlier works were useless dishrags. (Not ALL of them, just what seems like a disproportionate number.) It’s funny, because nearly all the main characters — good, bad, and ugly — in his first novel, Carrie, are female.

I think I’ll read Nightmares & Dreamscapes (I already own Skeleton Crew and read it not too long ago) again… maybe ‘Salem’s Lot, too. Shit, I haven’t read that since junior high.

what i’ve been reading & watching lately: nope, still haven’t bought a new television edition

the_gunslingerThe Gunslinger by Stephen King

I vowed years ago never to start reading this until it was all published. King wrote the books so far apart, I was afraid he’d never finish it. Apparently I’m not alone in that; in the forward he describes getting a lot of DUDE WE THOUGHT YOU’D CROAK AND NEVER FINISH THE DARK TOWER!!! letters after getting hit by that van. I believe he even said at one point that he wasn’t sure how or if he would end it, and I didn’t want to invest time in something that petered out halfway through. It’s been wrapped up for a few years now, but I just got around to it.

King started writing this — or at least thinking about — while still in college. It contains a lot of the awful phrases and scenarios that pollute early King writing: People shitting their pants for no particular reason; fear described as making the skin on (male) character’s testicles crawl. (Seriously, what was his obsession with that terrible phrase? He used it at least once in every book from Salem’s Lot to The Tommyknockers.) But other than that, the prose is actually a lot cleaner than most of his early work, reminiscent of some of the best writing he did in the ’90s. Which does make me wonder how much it was re-worked for the revised edition.

I liked it enough to keep reading the series. I always like the work he set in alternate realities (and which, if you read carefully, all seem to be either the same place — The Talisman’s “Territories” — or at least parallel universes of each other). I like seeing yet another (I’m assuming) incarnation of Randall Flagg. And I’ve always been in interested in the fusion of the western with a seemingly disparate genre like fantasy.

This arrived from Netflix just a couple of weeks after I finished reading the book. Although Krakauer certainly isn’t shy about saying that he, personally, admires Chris McCandless, he still manages to be more or less neutral and leave the reader to make their own mind up about it. Screenwriter/director Sean Penn doesn’t do the same here, and he strains a little hard to turn McCandless into some kind of Christ-like figure. But the movie overall is saved from heavyhandedness by some incredible perfomances — Emile Hirsch, of course; but also Catherine Keener and Hal Holbrook were uh-mazing. The voiceovers get a little ponderous, but showing how Chris came to live the kind of life he did probably would have doubled the running time, so I can forgive it.

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This isn’t from Netflix, I bought this, because I know I’ll want to watch it over and over again. I’ll be buying the 2nd season as soon as it’s available. I hope it includes the episodes that were filmed but that ABC never aired. I love this show, but watching the DVDs makes me want to go out in the street and punch the first person I see while yelling IT’S YOUR FAULT THIS WAS CANCELLED! YOU WERE TOO BUSY WATCHING DANCING WITH THE STARS TO WATCH THIS!!! Seriously, America: Your taste in television sucks.

Also, holy shit, how did I never notice how totally smoking hott Lee Pace was? I mean, I thought he was cute in a sort of mopey way, but umm:

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YEAH, I WOULD FUCKING WRECK THAT.

So, Wonderfalls, Y/N? I thought the premise sounded stoopit when I heard about it back in the day. But really, is it any stupider than guy can bring dead things back to life with a touch, for no particular reason, except only for a minute or something else will die in its place, and he can never touch them again or they die forever, so he uses this to solve crimes, and he brings his childhood sweetheart back from the dead, and oh yeah also he bakes pies from dead fruit. Which he he brings back to life.