22 October 2010


Weeks pass like waiters in a restaurant for me. It seems yesterday was Monday, and now its Friday. Another week gone. Poof.

I'm glad, and blessed, that I have a job. I have a job that keeps my ass busy from punch in to punch out with little downtime. Their checks that they pay me bi-weekly have not gone rubber and it pays for the cookies I eat too much of. All should be good. Right?

But I feel I've missed the bus, or am just missing something. I sense I should be looking out the window, or pushing aside a stubborn rock, because there's got to be something more exciting than this. Sure, I know if I was busy, I would bemoan the freedom that I currently have. When I filmed Judas Kiss, I had little time to read, or cruise the silly internet. Yet, I enjoyed myself.

And I would hate not to be able to read. I buy so many books, that the only way I can read them all, it start giving up somethings. And I've been thinking that it might have to be the most sacred thing in almost everyone's house: the TeeVee.

I already have cut my viewing habits down, and if the proliferation of reality TV gets worse, than I may just unplug the cable (besides, I can watch almost anything, with the exception of LIVE TV, on my computer).

I've lost interest in most shows, mostly because they're predictable and no longer stimulate my brain. Like reading, I think TeeVee should have a lasting effect. But I'll admit, good books are hard to find as well.

I'm all for reading pop lit. I read Stephen King, John Grisham and fantasy books. But I also want to read books that make me feel human, and maybe a little smarter. Authors like James Patterson, and his popularity (and really, your not fooling anyone with your books now. Since I figured out you don't write half the shit that goes out with your name -and the names of other authors - on it. Seriously, James, no one can produce 17 novels in three years) makes me shudder. Still, if you like him, read him. All I ask is that every once in a while, break out of the prediticable and read something that does not have the font size of a typical large print book, with one page chapters.

And the dialogue and the prose. Oh. My. Gosh.

I mean, I understand how Nora Roberts pushes out 6 books a year, because its mostly all dialogue with very little prose. Patterson's stuff is just horrendous and stale and boring. Which maybe the greatest sin of all; producing one boring psycho killer story line after another.

I need adventure and I need a love to share it with. I need someone to settle for me. But I also need to read all those damn books I buy.

Should I say goodbye to TeeVee?

Books: The Night Angel Trilogy: The Shadow's Edge by Brent Weeks

In book two of the Night Angel Trilogy, we see Kylar becoming a sort of superhero. He has sworn off wetboy activity, settling into a cobbled together life with Elene and his master's daughter, Uly, in another town. But old habits die hard, and Kylar can't escape his true calling as the Night Angel. He ends up protrolling the town at night, mostly at first to keep up his skills, but eventually running into bad guys, gangs, who roam around the town hurting people who find themselves out alone at night. In his attempt to further shed the skin of killer, Kylar sells the sword that is his symbol as the Night Angel after much deliberation (and encouragement) from Elene. Of course, as soon as Kylar gives up this last symbolic element of his past is when his past comes back looking for some help.

The second book in the trilogy is more about Kylar -who he is, what he wants to be. The yearns to live a normal life with Elene, yet he can’t resist the assassin that exists within him. Which, at times, is the one draw back to the second book. Author Weeks spends the first 200 hundred pages with Kylar bemoaning his situation.

It was all so Emo.

Still, the book is paced faster than the first, even though once again, characters are hard to follow because they come and go with no idea why their presence is required. Weeks does fairly well with propelling the story forward, and I sense that you could have probably read this book without picking up the first one. I mean, its okay to spend the beginning of a second book - chapter or two - recapping the events of first, but Weeks does go out of his way to explain every aspect of that first book through out the second.

There is a bit more humor here, as Kylar becomes a bit more human, but like the first tale, the blood and violence flows like a faucet stuck open. Life, in this universe, seems so very cheap.

18 October 2010

The Dullness Parade

Really, I have nothing to say.

And I guess that's a little sad. My life, in some ways, is like a race car going around the same track, at the same speed, never really going anywhere and never seeing then scenery change.

I know, at the end of the day, it is only I that can change this rut I've gotten stuck in for the last 2 decades. But like any lost soul, I cannot figure out how to go about it. As someone once said, life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what your going to get. But that little ditty, however, does not apply to me. Life, for me, is like dryer, going around and around and blowing a lot of hot air. Sure the clothes get dry, but there's not big surprise waiting for me when I open the door.

The weather has proved interesting since fall began late last month. The first weekend and then first full week of fall brought a heatwave. Then some minor cool weather, then a minor warm up and now another blast of cool, rainy weather. The weather, in some respects, is closer to our January/February than October. The temps in the afternoon have gotten into the upper 60's, so despite the mist/rain we've had since Saturday, its still rather pleasant outside.

Speaking of Saturday, my friends and I went to Disneyland and Disneys California Adventure. Over at DCA, they've got this set up for the sequel to their 1982 hit movie TRON. Called TRON Legacy, the film (opening December 17) is set nearly 30 years after the first one. So, over in the Hollywood backlot, DCA has set up this 80s retro area. I mean, really 80s retro. Imagine, cause that's all I can do, Studio 54 moved to the Happiest Place on Earth and take out all the fun. And there you will have ElecTRONica. It has a DJ's playing, not 80s music as I think they should, but modern stuff from Lady Gaga and Madonna (not old Madonna, BTW). They have a bar where you can order beer and other alcholic drinks (and where's the fun in looking at the hottie boys, and some 12 year-old runs by screaming for mommy?).

It was odd. Truly odd.

They've also set up a retro arcade area called FLYNNS, a near replica of the one featured in the original film. It has brick walls, and every 80's video game you can remember. But I did not go to DL to video games. So after a drink, we went to the Tower of Terror.

Then, I got a headache on Sunday. Sadly, while my system has soured on beer, I think I got it because I did not eat enough. I had a hotdog at like 6pm, and was starving by the time we left DL at midnight. I did not eat anything and woke up at 5 with a pounding headache.

Spent yesterday relaxing, and got to read more of my book, as the headache finally faded at around noon.

Today, I had to make the donuts, and another same-old work week began.

Meh.Justify Full

03 October 2010

Books: The Night Angel Trilogy: The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks (2008)

Azoth is an orphan who lives in the Warrens of Cenaria City. He and his two friends, Jarl and Doll Girl, are members of the Black Dragon guild. They make their living stealing money to buy food and pay their guild dues to Rat, the Guild Fist, an enforcer who beats anyone who doesn't pay.
One day Jarl shows Azoth a secret stash of coins that he had been saving for four years. Jarl gives the coins to Azoth so that he can apprentice to Durzo Blint, the best wetboy (assassin) in the city.

Meanwhile, a traveling mage, Solon Tofusin, arrives at the Gyre estate. He is on a mission from the prophet Dorian to help Lord Gyre. He finds that Duke Gyre has gone to Screaming Winds, but before he can head there he finds out the Duke’s son, Logan, has also been named Lord Gyre. Impressed with the boy, Tofusin stays with Logan. Azoth begins his training under Blint, which takes years. Given a new name, Kylar Stern, Azoth begins to become an assassin. But prophecy and his past is something Azoth cannot escape and he must decide if life is as empty as Durzo says it is, or can it be worth fighting for?

I approached this fantasy series with some apprehension, if only because they genre has little to offer in the way being different from the rest. Its well written, and Weeks tries to step away from the predictable, but he also creates antiheroes that makes you struggle to even like. Azoth, or Kylar, is such a character. He has some humanity in him, but it comes in the form of love. Here, in this world, love is treated, rather predicably, as a weakness. But this world, sadly, seems to lack any human emotion at all. We watch on the TV news where pundits say how human life is nothing to certain groups of people. Here, in Weeks novel, he has created a very unhappy, very dangerous, and at times, depressing universe. You feel for them, but it does take an effort.

Like any novel, there are some downfalls. Weeks introduces characters that seem to have no significance and are brought in and then dropped without any warning. Eventually, everything falls into place, but it forces the reader to really keep track of all the characters. This also leads to some convenient plot twists and poor explanations as to why they occurred. Still, I’m hoping with the next two books, Weeks tries to explore this more.

Overall, it’s a good read. And much like Stephen R. Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant series from 20 plus years ago, you have to accept that hero of this series is flawed, and unlikable. But you know, I think, in the end, he’ll win.