Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year

Today is the last day in 2012, and I've survived the Rapture and the Mayan Apocalypse. Woohoo!

Now for the list of New Year Resolutions I'm going to make
but will likely not follow up on due to the fact I have a short-term memory span like a goldfish.
No, no, no, I will! follow through with my resolutions. Or at least I'll sincerely attempt to try.

1 ) Read at least 30 minutes every day
-- I had this resolution last year and I think I did a pretty good job with it. This resolution was great because I got through a bunch of books on my to read list and I just love when I come across a concept in a book that just blows my mind, you know? The best feeling in the world for me (apart from being in love with Felicia) is stumbling across a thought that I think about for days and days. Reading introduces all kinds of thoughts and viewpoints and ideas; in fact, I think it's the best way. So you know I'm going to keep this one.

2 ) Finally organize my Pokemon card collection
-- I've already been working on this one a little. I've been looking online for some sort of printable checklist that I would be able to slip into my binder and take on the road with me whenever I hang out in the card and comic shop and hopefully expand my collection. But, all of the ones that I have been able to find are these complex databases which are great if I'm going to keep it all virtually, but... I need a hard copy, and I'm sure I'm not the only Pokemon card collector who would just like something simple.

If you are interested in my little endeavor and would like these lists for yourself, let me know and I will happily provide them for you.

3 ) Drink more water
-- I drink a lot of fluids in general, but I don't always drink water like I should. Lots of coffee and lots of Coke and more stuff that is not good for me. The older I get, the more I need to be better about eating healthy, I know... so I figure that this is going to be a good step. It's not like I go out and eat fast food or junk food all the time so I don't really worry about that.

4 ) Work on being more organized and less forgetful.
-- I am a complete scatterbrain and it drives my partner Felicia insane.... it's been so ingrained in me that I don't know if I'm going to be able to shake them, but I'm going to damn well try!

5 ) Encounter a shiny Pokemon
-- This year, it's going to happen. I swear.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

What People Don't Understand About Libraries

Working in customer service can be brutal.

Most of my bad days I spend apologizing for things that aren't the library's fault, and I can't do anything about it. So, you have to grow a thick skin to tolerate all the spittle and cussing coming out of people's mouths, and realize that it's not you personally that they are angry with. It's not even always the establishment they are angry with. I'm pretty good about just letting most of the angry insults roll off and not bother with them, but there is one that manages to flare me up every time (even if I don't look visible angry) ---

I hate. hate. hate. HATE. when people accuse the library of being a money-hungry establishment and people shouldn't have to pay fines at all.

The library is anything but money-hungry or wealthy for that matter. Sure, the property taxes go into the library building itself and that money also goes towards acquiring materials for our collection. What a lot of people don't realize is that sometimes the things that we purchase for public use don't always come back. I used to have deep attachments to specific books and would dread seeing them get checked out, because every time and item checks out, that doesn't mean that it will ever be checked in. Yes, people unknowingly steal from the library. Stealing from the library means stealing from you the taxpaying citizen. So... the money you put into funding our collection is literally walking out the door. If they don't bring it back, do we charge them? -yes, of course. And we charge retail price plus a process fee hoping they will never not bring a library book back again. And late fees? - yes, those who don't return the item promptly are taking the time you need with the item away from you. Late fees ensure that people will want to bring the books/movies back. Who wants to pay money they don't have to? I don't!

That being said, people don't bring back items and people don't pay their fines. The library hemorrages money every day for you, the citizen paying the property taxes's, benefit. The rule for lost items and late fees are in place to protect your interest so your money doesn't go to waste. We spend a good chunk of money reordering items that people take and don't bring back.

So, if you ever EVER say the library is money-hungry and awful, YOU SELFISH PERSON YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF AND RETURN YOUR BOOKS ON TIME >:(

.... and then you bitch at me and make me feel bad for things that I can't do anything about ;n;

This has been a courtesy message from your friendly neighborhood librarian circulation clerk

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Christmas Miracle

It's a little belated, I know, but today was the first day I actually knew about it so... forgive me.

In order to fully appreciate my story we have to rewind to Thanksgiving... I was in Dallas visiting my parents, siblings, and my mother's side of the family when tragedy struck at home here in Amarillo TX.

Little known fact, I raise chickens in my backyard. Not poultry chickens, strictly egg-laying chickens. I adore birds, and it cuts back on my grocery bill. I have a lovely little coop and enclosed yard for them, and outside the yard is another fenced in yard where in the spring and summer I have my vegetable garden. At the end of harvest season, I let the chickens roam around and eat down the vegetable plants. They like the sunshine and it eliminates some gardening work for me, so it's a win-win situation.

At the time, I had 10 beautiful Rhode Island Red hens, but when I returned, there was only a single hen left. The one that I affectionately call 'Lorraine.'

Apparently, a dog got under my fence and there was a wanton slaughter of the chickens. Lorraine was lucky to have survived at all. Needless to say, while I was very upset and sad at the matter, Lorraine was traumatized and stopped laying. I didn't really blame her. I don't know if I would continue to lay after watching the chicks I grew up with get eaten before my eyes. Terrible...

Anyway, since chickens are social creatures, I knew I'd best find some more companions for Lorraine to keep her happy, and unfortunately at the time, no farmer in the panhandle area was selling hens. I was going to have to wait until the spring and purchase chicks to raise. But Lorraine wasn't going to make it that long. She was so depressed that she completely stopped eating, and that's when I caved in and decided to purchase 2 small bantham roosters to keep her company through the winter. I don't really know if I'm allowed to keep roosters on my property but I figured that since these boys were small that they would have small vocal chords too and there would only be small crows. Only one consistently crows and I was right, he isn't very loud, but boy does he crow all day long. Lorraine started eating again so I was pleased.

Felicia and I decidecd to go ahead and purchase some chicks to ready for the spring, but the problem is that they only come in packs of twenty-five.... they cannot go out to the chicken coop until they have all of their feathers in. If they don't have their feathers, they will die because freshly-hatched chicks cannot control their own body temperature. That's why the hen always roosts on top of her brood- to keep them warm. So, for the past two or three weeks, I've have twenty-five peeping chicks in a large dog kennel in our bedroom with a heat lamp over them, and none of my felines are allowed inside. It was the only solution we could think of.

A few days before Christmas, the chicks finally got all of their feathers in and we made the big move from the bedroom to the coop. I was a little nervous about them at first because I thought the two grown roosters may try to hurt them, but thankfully, they continue to remain unharmed. I suppose it is because they are all females and none male. I'm sure the roosters would definitely not like another male intruding on their territory....

Well, on Christmas morning, we had some snow and went to check and see if everyone was okay out in the coop where we found a little surprise....

Lorraine laid another egg     :)

I think she's going to be all-right.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Showing off my Christmas Loot!

How's it going everyone? I hope you all had a great Christmas. I know I sure did   : )

We got us a 19 pound turkey thinking that a whole bunch of family was going to come and help us devour on Christmas afternoon, but then we got a freak blizzard and of course, everyone decided they didn't want to drive in it. In the end, only one person showed up, my sister-in-law Tabitha, and so I've got copious amounts of roast turkey in my refridgerator which I will probably be eating on for the next few weeks. I already made myself a turkey sandwich with a little mustard, lettuce, and cheese for lunch today at work. I wonder how many other turkey things I can make before I start getting bored. I guess the good news is that the tripdophan in the turkey hasn't fully kicked in yet (I think I countered it with the Dr. Pepper I drank, haha) so I'm not falling asleep at work.

Other than that, the giftcard to that I got didn't even last 24 hours. I knew exactly what I wanted. I ordered me some One Piece DVDs (because they don't have seasons 3 or 4 on Netflix OR Hulu) and I got some comic books -

Binky the Space Cat
(which I've read before and is possibly one of the cutest picture books/ comics series in existence)
except for maybe Press Here but that doesn't really count.

I haven't read any of this one but I'm a big fan of this guy's other work
( INVINCIBLE and Astounding Wolf-Man) so I figured I couldn't go wrong.
Plus, he's a Scottish Terrier. That's definitely on the Coolest Dog Breeds list
Everyone else may know this guy as the guy who works on The Walking Dead, but whatever....

Other than that, I scored me some Adventure Time jammies, some Pokemon cards, and several video games that have been on my wishlist for a long time. I'll let you know my progress in those one some later dates though. I know, I'm such a big kid. I can't help it though.

If you haven't checked out Binky the Space Cat or Science Dog, you totally should. I would know. I'm a librarian assistant.

What did everyone else get for Christmas?

Monday, December 24, 2012

More Pokemon Shenanigans

I'm sorry I've gone the past few days without a post. I wish I could say that it's because I've been so busy preparing for the holidays and family and yada yada yada but.... really, it's just been full of work and watching copious amounts of Pokemon Let's Play(s) .... specifically Marriland's Pokemon Emerald Nuzlocke Challenge.

I have also started my own Pokemon Nuzlocke Challenge using my copy of Pokemon Diamond. Unfortunately, I don't have the gear to be able to upload my gameplay onto YouTube or anything, but I have been updating my progress in my Pokemon group on

For those of you who aren't familiar with a Nuzlocke Challenge, let me break it down for you. It's a type of challenge gameplay for Pokemon and it only has 3 rules.

1. Any Pokemon that faints in battle must be considered DEAD and released (therefore, you really got to pay attention to battles and stats and critical hits. You don't want your prized Pokemon you've trained from level 3 to faint to a bad matchup. It's heartbreaking.)

2. You may only catch the first Pokemon you encounter on each Route. (therefore, you really don't have a lot of Pokemon to begin with or to choose from. Also it sometimes forces you to use Pokemon you would never really consider which can be pretty cool.)

3. You must nickname all of your Pokemon for the sake of developing emotional bonds with them. (this is the easy part ;) )

So, it can get pretty challenging at times. I'm really enjoying it.

Other than that, Felicia let me open one of my Christmas gifts early! And inside was a Pokemon Platinum Arceus TCG gift set! I was so excited just to get this awesome promo Arceus card --

-- but I was even MORE excited after I opened the Promo Boosters that were with it and found this massively overpowered Promo Garchomp --

I had a nerdgasm like you wouldn't believe. Of course, now it just sets up a high standard for all my other Christmas gifts :P

Nah, I know they're all coal xD

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Might Have A Decent Idea

I got an idea in my head over the summer right after A-Kon, and I've been mulling it over for a few months, and I decided you know it may not be a bad idea....

I'm a compulsive doodler. If I have some sort of writing utensil in front of me, I will doodle. I like to keep my hands busy. It keeps me from going crazy. I've gotten compliments about my doodles on a number of occassions, and while I was in the artist's alley at A-Kon, I thought "you know if I could clean up my lineart and learn to ink and shade, I bet I could sell some cool black and white pieces here one year." .... so I've been working on my art. And I've gotten progressively better, but I'm not quite there yet. Something gets lost in translation when I try to go from pencil to ink. It just loses what made it look special. Something tells me though that people aren't going to want to pay for pencil sketches though.

I really wish I had an example of my artwork to post online, but I don't have a scanner, and I can't draw on a computer to save my life :(

Maybe a booth at A-Kon isn't such a good idea. I mean, I cartoon but I don't really draw anime. My art is influenced by anime, sure, but it doesn't look like traditional anime. I won't say it's its' own thing - I have a lot of artists that I look up to and try to emulate pieces of - but you can't mistake it for someone else's work. It's cute, but not the sort of thing you want to hang up in your house.

Plus, the only real 'anime' thing I'm good at drawing are Pokemon  . I guess Digimon too if I tried, but I'm not really interested in Digimon.

..... Look at that, I was all gung-ho at the beginning of this post, and now I'm all "well-I-thought-it-was-a-good-idea" ._.

Maybe if I pitched in some money to sit at a booth with a better artist and maybe draw doodles and maybe sell a few for like $0.50 a piece ;u; ?

That being said, does anyone know any inking and coloring tips to help?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Reading Out of My Norm

Okay, so, I finally decided that since I am bound and determined to be a full-fledged librarian. I have to be well-versed with a lot of the book selection I have here.

I'm already familiar with stuff that I like.

I know that's like the smartest thing I've ever said, lol.
.... but now I'm trying to get familiar with stuff that I don't normally read. For instance, James Patterson -

- technically, my first James Patterson read was the first book in the Maximum Ride series (The Angel Experiment) .... well, not even that. It was the manga adaptation of that, and it was mainly because the art was pretty. But I am disregarding it because comic book adaptions of novels can be far superior to their wordy counterparts because the author's real writing can be shit and a comic book is mainly aesthetics and dialogues- much like a movie script. So, I picked up the actual The Angel Experiment and I wasn't really impressed. I thought the writing was too simplistic; that and the story was just kind of all over the place and Max is all kinds of cliche if you sit down and think about it. Then, I remembered that Maximum Ride is a young-adult series. Say what you want, but the truth of the matter is that most young-adult series today are crap. (i.e 'Twilight' and worse than that, 'Halo') .... so, I decided that maybe young-adult isn't his best. It's easy for adult fiction writers to turn out youth literature that's not so great. So, I was going to give him another chance.

.... then I encountered the Daniel X manga which was all kinds of awful that I cannot bear to repeat it here.

.... then I decided it was time to pick up a James Patterson adult fiction novel. I had been looking for a new audiobook to listen to and the synopsis of Kill Me If You Can sounded really good. Two discs in though, I am having my doubts. This is the part where a lot of James Patterson fans reading this are going to outrage that I can't fairly judge this book because it was coauthored by James Patterson and ....... - and this is also the part where I'm going to tell them that it doesn't really matter because I can totally tell who is writing what parts because James Patterson writes exactly the same way here as he does in Maximum Ride. The only difference is that this book isn't about a teenage girl with wings.

I can't tell if James Patterson is a genuinely good author or people just like him because his text is simple and he writes sex scenes.

I know a few people at the library who think I should read a solely authored by James Patterson book, but if his writing is always like that, I don't know if I can get through it. I'm not really interested in romance (much less detailed sex scenes, much less straight sex scenes - I am a dyke, you know) ... and so far there have been four steamy awkward-to-sit-through-for-me ones. But hey, sex is a popular thing to write about, and the masses love to read it. So, maybe he's on to something....

No, thank you, James Patterson. Your books just aren't for me.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

On Trading Cards

Several months back, my girlfriend Felicia decided that since I liked Pokemon so much, she would get me some Pokemon trading cards.

I never did the Pokemon Trading Card Game as a kid for a couple of reasons --

1) I never really got an allowance so I couldn't buy them on my own,

2) because trading cards were pretty expensive and in the eyes of my adult figures growing up, they were a waste of time.

-- but I longed for them, and the few that I managed to get my hands on (generally the promos that came when you went to see any of the numerous Pokemon movies), I cherished. None of those cards have survived all the times I've moved since then, but... I've got them all back.

Maybe it's due to my 'Pokemon syndrome' (the irrepressable urge to 'catch 'em all'), but I adore trading cards. Specifically Pokemon cards for a long time, but now I've also gotten into Skylanders cards, and DC / Marvel superhero trading cards. I feel like a little kid for liking to collect them so much, but I can't help getting so excited whenever I get my hands on one that I know is rare or one whose art I really enjoy. And some of these cards are VERY beautiful.

I'm currently drooling over this rare Pokemon card to snag for my collection.
I know that most adults play the Magic: the Gathering trading card game, and I know quite a few who do baseball cards and stuff, but I can't get into them.

I have a few decks that I'll actually play the card game with, but mostly I collect them for the artwork, and because I genuinely love Pokemon - I always have since I was a kid.

Pokemon was magical for me because I was definitely a tsundere as a kid- the loner girl who'd act tough and scare everyone else. In the beginning, (and true today), in order to catch all of the Pokemon, you needed to have two game cartirdges. Some of them were special only to Pokemon Red and some were special only to Pokemon Blue. So, in order words, you needed a friend with the opposite game as you, and Pokemon forced me to talk to people and forced me to be nice to them.... and I finally made some real friends.

I wasn't as adamant about Pokemon games in junior high and high school because the magic had faded away by that time for most, but I still kept up with the series in secret. Now, it's starting to be cool again, and I'm glad I can be part of something that is really special to me, especially with people my own age.

I think trading cards are a cool hobby and I kind of feel sorry for the people who get embarrassed by them or think they are just for nerds and kids, and sure, while not everyone is a rare Mickey Mantle that you're able to sell for hundreds of dollars.... it's a hobby you can do across all ages, and the swapping and collecting helps people interact with people. I think they can be a friendly and valuable tool.

There's a trading card out there for everyone :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The World Is Going To End....

.... Felicia caved in on one of my Christmas presents after I asked her for like the billionth time. I honestly never thought she was going to break, and the only reason I asked is because she was so determined she wouldn't tell. Granted, she only told me one of the things I'm getting - AND I AM SO EXCITED!

The intent behind the gift is that I am always doodling, and frankly, I love cartoons. So when she saw that there's an ability to scan your doodles into the program and the program helps you create vectors in order to animate said-doodles, she knew I'd be all over that. And I am. And I can't wait to start learning.

The question is... I have no idea what kind of animation I want to do first. Likely nothing too difficult since I'll be getting used to the program but.... ARGH the anticipation is awful, and the end of the world is still looming around.

If you aren't friends with me on Goodreads, (which if you haven't been to Goodreads or followed any of my book related links on my blog, it's only the coolest website in the whole entire universe), I've been up to my ears in manga volumes lately, and I'm not entirely sure why my interest in anime/manga has suddenly exploded again. Before, my excuse was that I was constantly working or working on papers for college. Now, it's just working.

Current projects include : Naruto, BLEACH, One Piece, D. Gray-Man, St. Dragon Girl, Pokemon Black and White, and FAIRY TAIL!!!!

I've decided that I <3 Fairy Tail - it's got goofy art obviously inspired by One Piece's mangaka PLUS it has magic AND a flying cat.

Summer + Cats = SOLD on anything really, but MAGIC CATS is a super-plus. And his name is Happy :)

And both main characters : Lucy and Natsu : are pretty awesome too.

So, I've pretty much decided this is my new favorite anime/manga. One Piece is a close second though.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It Ain't Over Until I Sniff Out My Christmas Presents

I can't believe it's already December. This year has gone by so fast it's not even funny, and although I'm sad that another year has flown by (my mom tells me that this effect gets worse the older you get), I'm really excited about Christmas! And I'm really excited to give my girlfriend Felicia the present I got her!

In case she reads this, I can't tell you what it is, but I can tell you that I've had to stop her from buying similar presents several times because I already got a better one for her. Felicia can be hard to give gifts to sometimes, because if there is something she wants and she has the money for, she tends to just go out and buy it regardless of whether it's close to her birthday or Christmas or what. So, instead of buying presents that she really wants, I normally have to buy her things that I know she'll think are cool even if she doesn't know it yet.

The kid in me still likes to snoop for presents around the house, but I haven't found anything yet. I have a hunch of what I got and I almost want to stop there, but Felicia and her mother brag that they are the best at stashing stuff away in spots where no one can find them, so I was like :

Other than that, everyone's kind of freaking out about this whole end-the-world thing that's supposed to happen on 12/21/2012. If you don't know by now what it is, then... well, it was just highly unlikely someone didn't mention it to you and I have a hard time believing that you truly didn't know about it.

The mystical and marvelous Mayan calendar ends on that day, and because the Mayans had amazing calendars for such an old civilization of people, in the present, people think they had the ability to see into the future which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but I suppose stranger things have happened.

Also, a lot of bullshit about an alien planet Nibiru or Planet X colliding with the Earth, and if such a thing were possible, I guarantee that NASA would be all over that shit.

No one knows exactly what is going to happen on that day.... maybe the Biblical Apocalypse, maybe an alien invasion, maybe a massive earthquake or volcano or tidal wave, or maybe nuclear weapons - anyway, the whole world is just going to go to hell in a handbasket.

Me, personally, I think it's all a bunch of hoopla, and I think the only reason why the Mayan calendar ends on 12/21/2012 is because the Spanish conquistadors arrived and wiped them all out and they had more important things to do than work on a calendar that was already calculated 700 years in advance. That makes more sense to me.

But, now, there are a lot of people who believe that it is a fact that the world will end on this day, and I am genuinely scared about some of the crazy stuff people will attempt to do thinking that their actions on that day will have no consequence because the world as they know it will fall apart. Yep, a whole bunch of crazies...

Fortunately, if the world does end in 10 days, you guys won't have to read my blog anymore, LOL.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What You Don't Know

I just got finished catching up on Doug TenNapel's new webcomic NNewts !

If you haven't read it, you really should. TenNapel is a master storyteller and has written some of my favorite comics/graphic novels to date, including Ghostopolis and Cardboard.

Ever since I picked up Ghostopolis at the public library, I have been one of TenNapel's biggest fans. I have collected all his works, played all the video games that he's been involved in, watched interviews, and bookmarked all the webaddresses for his webcomic (even pre-ordering them whenever they announce it, regardless of what the material is) ....

There is one sad thing that I keep in the back of my mind however and that's in an interview or a blog post I read, TenNapel is very Christian and very much opposed to people like me -- gays and lesbians. I wrote him once, and made no mention of my sexual orientation, but wanted to tell him just how much I liked his work (he probably gets those letters all the time) - I never got a response, but there was a brief mention on his blog that his works were becoming more popular in libraries and I knew that it had a little relation to the note I wrote. I just think it's a little ironic that one of his largest fans is a person that he spiritually believes is bad, evil, ill, and wrong. Granted, he doesn't go out of his way to hurt gays and lesbians, and I respect his beliefs as I respect all beliefs.... but it is a little ironic, isn't it?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Computer Lab Lamentations

On Thursday, I'm generally assigned to help in the computer lab at the library to help patrons with their computer and internet needs (besides looking up porn, ew) ... There are a few behaviors and attitudes though that completely baffle me and whenever I run across them, I am at a loss as to what to do...

The 'I Don't Know What I'm Doing, So Why Don't You Just Do It For Me?' Patron...

This is by far the most numerous patron, and not all of them are bad, but the few who are extraordinarily bad ruin it for everyone else. This is the patron that has no idea how to use a computer, but doesn't want to learn to use one either... they tend to be older and male. They will give me their objective (i.e. I want to apply for a job) and think that I can pull a magic wand out of my ass, wave it, and the computer will do it for them. When I gently try to explain that I can't go to the website and type everything out for them, they become hostile and say things like 'Well, I can't do this on my own' and 'You're supposed to be helpful' or 'They said the library could help me' (whoever the mysterious 'they' is) ... I don't mind sitting down and kind of guiding them, but I really don't have time (or patience depending on the patron) to sit down and take everyone by the hand through it. You need to have a little knowledge with computers before you come in here.

The 'I Will Pay You Because You Are A Fast Typer And I Am Slow And Lazy' Patron.

I spend a fair amount of time on the computer; therefore, I am pretty fast on a keyboard. I get patrons who come in wanting to type up letters and various other documents, but they don't want to hunt and peck through the program themselves. They think they can give the document to me and I will pop it out of the printer all perfect and formatted in ten minutes or less.... but my job doesn't allow me to do it. If it did, I would be typing ALL DAY and I can't say that would be a very fun or engaging job for me. Our job at the library is to help you learn to use the computer for yourself. It's like that old saying 'Give a man a fish and you'll feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you'll feed him for a lifetime' .... at the library we want to teach people to fish. THEN as if that isn't bad enough, they like to wave money in my face and say 'Mr. Lincoln thinks you can do this for me' and I say in return 'Mr. Lincoln, I'm not putting my job on the line for you. Get your nasty bribe away from me.'

The 'I Don't Know Anything About Computers, But I Know More Than You' Patron...

This is my number one pet peeve kind of patron and thankfully they are few and far between. This is the patron that flags me down to help them, and then when I try to give them direction as to what I would do about the situation (I am the computer assistant after all) - they decide that they want to argue with me about every single little click. They won't do what I advise. They do what they want to anyway, and then generally when they come back in another day, I get chewed out by them for something I didn't do, but I was standing there 'helping them' when they shot themselves in the foot, and they hate admitting that they are wrong. For some reason, even though they themselves messed up, they are convinced that I don't know what I am doing and therefore, call someone else to ignore.

The 'I Refuse To Believe That's How Cyberspace Works' Patron...

Okay, so this has only happened once, but I thought it was so humorous that I had to share it. I was trying to help a patron log into his email account. He said that he forgot his password and I obviously have no idea what it is, so I said that if he couldn't remember, he would have to reset the password. He said he didn't want to because if he did that, then he would have to remember 2 passwords. I thought he might have been using the same password for every site, and I gently explained that resetting the password was our only option to regain his email account. He then said that if he logged in with a new password here, he was going to have to go through a bunch of trouble to reset the password from the other computer as well. I said, well cyberspace doesn't work that way. Sure, the computer is the hardware but your email account doesn't really exist on it. It exists on the internet, in the air. If you change the password here, the password will be changed everywhere. He had a difficult time grasping this and blew me off and then three other computer librarians told him the same thing....

The 'You Help Me Set Up My Email, So What Is My Password?' Patron...

.... do I really need to explain how this is annoying? Are people so self-absorbed that they think I will remember all of them and their email passwords???

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Worst Kind of Hipster is an Anime/Manga Hipster

So, over the past few months/year, I've been trying to get back up to date on all my anime/manga- because it's something that I really do enjoy, it's just hard to be excited when no one is excited back. The good news is that I've gotten to the point in my life where I just really don't care what anybody thinks anymore about my hobbies, and if no one around wants to talk about it, well, there's the internet.

In hopes of getting a position at the youth department, I began frantically throwing myself into these manga series so I could be hip on what the kids read nowadays (because they certainly don't read the things I did when I was a kid- i.e. Tenchi Muyo, Sailor Moon, and Macross..)

There are a handful of series that I never read simply because I was going through that 'hipster' phase where everything that people liked was awful and everything (regardless of the quality) that no one had a clue about was God's gift to anime and manga.

Today, I would like to apologize to some anime/manga series that I snubbed before I even gave them a chance. I love you now.


For those of you who aren't familiar with the series.... BLEACH is the story of Ichigo Kurosawa, a moody 15 year old boy who has the uncanny ability to see and speak to ghosts. When his family is threatened, he inherits the powers of a Shinigami (or Soul Reaper) from Shinigami Rukia, and battles ...evil ghosts that want to eat good ghosts? - that's the only way I can explain it. Anyway, apparently there's this whole other world beyond death called the Soul Society which Shinigamis govern, and there's a civil war between everybody there, and Ichigo is the coolest thing to happen since sliced bread.

Okay, so the series isn't the most imaginative and to be honest, the series runs on forever BUT the character designs and the Shinigami abilities are SO COOL. I hated on this series for the 'soul' reason (haha, see that? it was a pun!) that it was popular among my classmates and now that I've given it a chance.... I like it! - funny, huh?

So, BLEACH .... I am sorry. I misjudged you.

Naruto to its' fans and Narutard to its' enemies. This ninja anime is possibly one of the most popular anime show to date. Naruto is about a young prankster ninja who has inherited the power of the legendary 9-Tailed Fox that nearly destroyed his village years ago. Naruto wants to become the Hokage, or ninja leader, to get the people that have shunned and ignored him over the years to notice him. Politics ensue between various ninja villages.

Yet again, I avoided this series like the plague solely because of its' popularity, and it didn't help that I had heard some horror stories about the kind of fans it attracted BUT I don't have to love the fans to love the anime/manga and when I finally gave it a chance, I discovered that it is a really fun little read. I'm only in volume 20 right now (and still going) but each volume of Naruto has brought something new to the table so far :) - the characters and abilities are also fun.

So, Naruto .... I am sorry. I misjudged you.

Gold Roger, the most infamous pirate in history, dared pirates at his hanging that they would never find his hoard of treasure - One Piece. It is said that whomever possessess the treasure will have infinite power and become king of the pirates. Monkey D. Luffy is one such hopeful who wants to find One Piece; he will recruit a crew and commandeer a ship and do whatever it takes. Hilarity ensues.

Popular and thus avoided. One Piece is my greatest regret of them all. I have never read a manga series where I have had so much fun with. I mean, the drawings are just goofy. The manga knows it is a manga and it has fun with it. I really admire the mangaka's talent. Granted, it , like Bleach, is really bad at recycling plots over and over. I can forgive it when there are drawings like this ----


So, One Piece, I am sorry. I misjudged you...

Dragonball is a modern adaptation of the Chinese epic 'Journey to the West' - the story of the Monkey King Son Goku and his companions to gain immortality. Goku of Dragonball travels with his companions to track down the 7 dragonballs which united can summon the Eternal Dragon to grant them a single wish. Hilarity ensues. Dragonball Z continues the story of Dragonball's Goku but adds a sci-fi element including aliens, other worlds, and space battles. They are considered by many anime fans to be classics. It is also notorious for being one of the first series to have 'filler' episodes (episodes with no real plot going on but just to extend the run of the show because it has such a huge audience - aka a cash cow).

Okay, this is one that I didn't try to avoid; I just thought I wouldn't like it, and since it came on before Sailor Moon when the two aired on Toonami, I didn't like it --- because I got caught in all the filler episodes. We got the Dragonball manga in at the library and I decided to give it a shot. I didn't expect a lot from it- a whole bunch of burly dudes bragging about the size of their penises power levels. Dragonball really surprised me though. I think it is partially due to the fact that I am already quite familiar with 'Journey to the West.' The entire thing is full of perverted humor and scatological jokes.... so why is it so popular? Because it is full of perverted humor and scatological jokes. It is a foolproof combination, and you know what, it works.

The characters all look the same, but you know what, you start to care about them. And then I got into the world and the mythology... and it's just a good series.

Dragonball / Dragonball Z, I am sorry. I misjudged you.

It's hard to explain FullMetal Alchemist without giving so much away. The best that can be said is that Edward and his brother Alphonse are travelling across a fantasy land in order to learn the secrets of the Philosopher's Stone and reverse the terrible mistake that they made years ago. There's a lot of science, medicine, and technology involved which makes it possibly the perfect anime for me, but alas, I was too blind to see it the time that it was extremely popular. Thankfully, it has been given a re-vamp called FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood (still currently playing) - so I can still get in on some of the hype. Nevertheless, I distinctly remember telling a girl in high school that this was overrated drivel. If I could remember her name, I would apologize to her too.

FullMetal Alchemist, I am sorry. I misjudged you.

.... that being said, my hunches were right about InuYasha. It's still awful.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Book Geometry Logic

Ok, somebody explain something to me. I'm really bad at math and this is really confusing to me, and I can't explain why it happens. Knowing my luck, it's something really easy and right in front of my nose, so if it is one of those things, be gentle with me. I'm a delicate little flower ;u;

.... Books sitting vertically on a cart all manage to fit perfectly.

... but when I lay them horizontally like this :

I can't fit the same number of books horizontally as I can vertically. Now, I don't see any huge differences in there widths. The books' widths are the same both ways. So how come I can't fit as many on the shelf??? In my head I'm trying to account for something to do with the spines, but... that doesn't make sense to me either...


The DVDs don't confuse me as much because we have two different types of cases and they are confusing as hell to put together in a way that is practical or aesthetically pleasing anyway sooooo...... hm.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Technical Difficulties and The Perfect Novel

Okay, so my immediate thought after writing the post title was ... "That sounds like the name of a thesis. A really boring thesis." - not that I've written a thesis yet, and I hope I wouldn't come up with a title that boring, but I plan to eventually write a thesis but I have no idea what it would be about.... probably a bizarre combination of superheroes, genetic engineering, and the number of times the letter 'Q' has frustrated the hell out of people throughout the centuries. Hey! - If I can write kickass essays merging Batman and the Bible together, that idea is totally not beyond my reach. I'm crazy, dudes.

The inner workings of my mind are a complete enigma which any mortal glance into would render the eyes' owner eternally insane.

Remember that, guys. This is important.

So, I've been having a lot of difficulties with my comment box for some reason, and I'm not sure how to fix it. Naturally, I want everyone's opinions to be heard and this is almost as frustrating as the letter 'Q' and people that insist on still using the word 'whom' .... so, if you want to email me at my fun email : - with your comments when my comment box if being a complete douchebag, I will edit my posts accordingly (and respond) so that everyone can see them (unless you don't want people to see it... which you better specify.)

In the meantime, I will be wrestling with my comment box until I am able to get it into a full nelson and it surrenders.

I had a fantastic dream last night ---- wait, wait, don't stop reading! I know people hate reading about other people's dream, but really guys this post isn't about my dream, I promise --- that I had read the greatest novel I had ever read in my life. The novel was so perfect that I had to share it with everyone I knew, so I traveled everywhere and bought multiple copies, urging everyone I knew to give it a try. I hope the publishers appreciated all the free publicity they got (even if it wasn't real). The sad part is that I woke up and I couldn't even remember what the novel was about. I was a little sad.

Then I got to thinking - what would be the perfect novel for you? - I'm not saying any one specific novel, but what would it have in it that you would think was just totally awesome....

My perfect novel would definitely be a combination of science-fiction and horror, not too far from planet Earth (because I despise pronunciation guides)... It would need a kickass lead heroine- kind of a soft butch type. To be the perfect novel, she'd have to be bisexual or gay, and she would have to have some sort of haunted past- but not strictly love-life related (becuase I know that's the first thing most people think of) It would be complicated and philosophical, discussing themes about what is life and what it means to be alive and the validity of the human race in the spectrum of space and time with plenty of action scenes and a little bit of gore just to make the mood a little creepy. It would kind of have an open ending, and the author couldn't plan on writing more to the series. I like happy endings, but there wouldn't be a bizarre deus-ex-machina at the end or everything magical just lines up and works together. I would like the main character to be challenged on a lot of different levels, and to make her feel real, I would like for her to fail some of those challenges... but she would grow as a person. The book would have wicked character development.

.... I don't know if that is the book that I dreamed about, but in my conscious state, this would be my ideal book.

If anyone happens to know a book similar (or even fitting exactly!), please please please let me know!

In the meantime though, what sort of book would be perfect for you? :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kids-At-Heart, Stop Getting Bullied Around By 'Adults'

I get teased sometimes for liking a lot of kids' stuff, and not 'acting my age.' I admit it, I am a total goofball and a space cadet but I'm cool and respectful manners-wise and that's what should count when it comes to being an adult.... being open-minded, being able to negotiate, and being able to take responsibility for my actions.

More often than not though, I get all these haters looking down on me for liking Pokemon cards, and water guns, and Legos... stuff that in their minds is just for kids. They act like if an adult lets his/her inner kid out that they can't cope with reality or have unreal expectations. I've gotten told that a few times while I was dating that they couldn't be with me because I was too much like a kid. Anyone who knows me personally will know that this is completely wrong. I'm an adult, a responsible one, but I just want to have PG-rated fun :)

Now, if anyone has ever told you that you 'can't cope with reality' you know that they are full of bullshit. Generally, the people that tell me this are the ones with no imagination and are jealous that I have one, an active one and one that I am very proud of, thank you. This is my comeback for everyone whose inner kid just wants to shine through but these unimaginative people keep putting you down...

If you read Harlequin Romances, you have no business telling me what's unrealistic...

You can get a sense of what I mean by reading the back of these books. Who comes up with this stuff? - half of the plots involve a poor but virtuous woman encountering an extremely rich and powerful man who longs for a family, he is stunned by her beauty or her good nature, they get married and then they have hot steamy straight sex (sometimes not quite in that order), and then he caters to her every whim and she never has to want ever again. Happily ever after! While I do believe in fairytale endings, (after all, it happened for me and my girlfriend Felicia) I can't believe that straight women eat this up.

I heard once that you are what you read and your inner desires can come out by the choices you make when you're reading books. It makes sense to me. You read about stuff that you like. I read about ghosts and shit because I would love to have a legit scary ghost encounter! - and swords and sorcery books? Man, wouldn't it be awesome to call upon the forces of nature and be a hero that everyone recognizes? - these are my fantasies, but ones I know will never happen.

It's okay to have fantasies and to think about them. Thinking about them doesn't make you more or less of an adult. Sure, not everyone want to grow up to be an intergalactic space-pirate, but the likelihood of you marrying a filthy stinking rich man who will let you lounge about for the rest of your days is pretty unrealistic too. Just saying, guys.

If you watch Jersey Shore or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, you have no business telling me what's unrealistic...

I think that 'Reality TV' is a misnomer, because everything you see on 'reality TV' isn't anything like real life. Sure, they will bill it as real life and repeat it over and over in order to get you to believe that, but all-in-all, 'reality TV' is set-up and staged, and the 'real people' are just impromptu actors. Shows like Jersey Shore and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, most of the stunts on there are just to keep fans watching; they serve no other purpose than ratings, ratings, ratings.

Now here's where I'm going to get arguments from people who love stuff like Pawn Stars or Ice Road Truckers, shows where people are 'doing their jobs' and people are just filming it. Well, I can guarantee that anybody in front of a camera (unless it is a hidden camera like they place in large department stores to deter theft) isn't always going to act like themselves. Most individual people love attention (myself included, why the hell do I write a blog? - I confess to that hubris!) and will do whatever it takes to get recognized. So some of the fits I've seen people throw (especially on shows like Operation Repo) I know are solely for the camera. I never trust anything I see aired on TV because it's never what it appears to be. I'm not saying that TV shows lie, but the camera doesn't just add 10 pounds to your body; it also adds 10 pounds to your ego.

Media sources are not always a good way to confirm your beliefs and doubts. Just because it's the news or reality TV doesn't mean they have the truth and nothing but the truth. The media is just another business and business wants to convince its buyers. To stay rooted in reality, take everything with a little grain of salt.
If you're the kind that signs up constantly to win free stuff in sweepstakes, you have no business telling me what's unrealistic...

The chances of winning the lottery are slim and none, but people keep playing, wishing, hoping, and praying that they'll win the big pot. Most people will lose what they spend and only in the rarest of the rare occassions will someone win it all and be an instant millionaire. They say that you got to risk it if you want to win it, and I have nothing against people who do play (I partake too every now and then when I feel lucky). But there are people who put you down because it is unlikely you will ever be, say, a star NBA player, but have no problem with the fact that they will likely not win the raffle for the $100 Walmart giftcard.

Odds are odds. They don't lie. People are pretty certain that gravity is in place on the Earth, but we can't 100% prove anything. The fact that my ballpoint pen hits the ground instead of floats up into space when I drop is just makes us even more certain. It changes the 99.9% truth that gravity is in place to a 99.99%. And each time I drop it and I get the same result, it adds another 9, and another, and another.

People sign up for free stuff like sweepstakes because they like the thought of getting something for nothing. We're lazy. It's in our cells. But the more people that sign up for free stuff, the more unlikely it is that you're going to get anything at all.

If you've ever used the phrase 'Oh, but I can change him/her' in any kind of relationship, you have no business telling me what's unrealistic...

Officially the dumbest thing ever said by couples and romance movies. You've got some real problems if you think that you can change a person's behavior for 'love's sake.' People only change when they want to make the change; there's no way to coerce or sneak a way out of it. 

Sadly, if you thank God before you thank first responders (i.e. firemen, EMS, police, etc) after you've been in an accident, you have no business telling me what's unrealistic...

It was the surgeon that saved you from dying of acute appendicitis, you idiot. Two hands working do more good than a thousand hands clasped in prayer.

If you're looking through job searches for something that requires no work but pays big, you have no business telling me what's unrealistic...

Nobody will pay you to do nothing (at least, not without good reason; I totally respect our disabled veterans who are unable to work because they sacrificed themselves for the beliefs and the freedom of this nation that allows me to write a blog like this. You deserve your compensation.)

If you come to the library to solely check out movies, you have no business telling me what is unrealistic... 

This one, I think is pretty self-explanatory. The people I deal with who solely check out movies are some of the most bizarre and unrealistic people I have ever met. Generation of entitlement much?

..... so, everyone is unrealistic and can't cope with reality.

Don't hate on the ones who are just having more fun, or a different kind of fun, than you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Things I Want for Christmas but will likely not get....

There are some things in life you just can't get enough of, and today I'd like to share a few of the things that have gone missing (and are likely not coming back) that I would like to see more of. It's Christmas time; here's the top items on my Christmas list that I'm likely not going to get---
Runaways is my FAVORITE comic book series EVER. It's got a totally cool storyline (especially the first two arcs) and wonderful characters that any teen can relate to. This was actually the second American comic series that I got into. The first one was New Mutants. And I have been a Marvel girl ever since (no offense DC Comics). The comic was unfortunately put on permanent hiatus back in 2009. There was a rumor a while back that Runaways' first story arc was going to be made into a movie, and I've been super excited about it since, but it's gotten pushed back by multiple other Marvel movie projects, including The Avengers, Iron Man 3, and Thor 2. I keep my fingers crossed that the day will come when there's a Runaways movie but for now, I just got to keep my eye on them having cameo appearances.
2 ) Psychonauts 2

This has got to be one of the CRAZIEST and most original and enjoyable video games I have ever played. It's kind of got a cult status now that it's been featured as a downloadable games on websites like GameFly and SteamPowered, but it was virtually unheard of when it came out.
Check this - the people who worked on Tim Burton's films did the character designs and legendary Tim Schaffer (noted for Grim Fandango and Day of the Tentacle computer games) did the storyline of a boy with psychic powers who runs away from the circus to a summer camp to become a psychic warrior where there is a sinister plot held by the camp director to steal the brains of the children to power deadly psychic tanks! If that isn't awesome enough for you, the actual levels of the games take place inside people's heads and actually profile different mental disorders such as schitzophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and cognitive identity disorder, and more. That being said, they are INSANE, and in some cases, super creepy. It's like Hitchcock, Burton, and Disney all rolled into one.
A while back, Tim Schaffer said that Psychonauts did so well in the online sales that he's ready to put Psychonauts 2 into production if a studio will have him and his little project. Nothing so far yet, but let's keep our fingers crossed!
3 ) More Mad-Scientist Movies
I've got a secret love for movies featured mad-scientists with experiments gone horribly wrong ,especially in the medical field. Science and pushing science to its' limit make some of the greatest creative films (even if sometimes they aren't too well-done) and I wish that Hollywood would break out of the action and comedic-romance mould to make more of these films. I got a handful that are truly great, but you can only watch them so many times ...
Definitely check out :
for some fantastic B-ish sci-fi mad-scientist movies :)
4 ) Giant Rampaging Monsters

Do I really need to say any more on that subject?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Little Irritations

I used to read a ton of fantasy books as a kid, but the older I've gotten, the less tolerant I notice I am with them. I don't think it has anything to do with the fact that I'm 'growing up' (I still collect Pokemon cards for crying out loud!) but I do know that there are a few things about fantasy books that irritate me and will guarantee I don't read them.

1 ) If you have a pronunciation guide at the back of your book, it isn't worth my time.

This one is the only one that I have been successful with... it was a challenge.
A lot of fantasy readers that I've met say that the ability to pronounce a character's name doesn't bother them. They recognize the name and just kind of skip over it in their mind. They know who the author is talking about and that's all that really matters to them.

I guess it's a quirk of mine but I tend to mouth the words as I'm reading a passage, like saying it out loud will help me remember what's going on better. Sometimes that's a crucial thing when you're reading a monster of a book like George R. Martin's A Game of Thrones, or even J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

This problem that I have also extends into science-fiction novels especially with extraterrestrial names. I realize that these fanciful names help build fantasy and science-fiction worlds and that the further they are from our own worlds, the more highly-regarded they are creativity-wise.

As true as that is though, there is a truth that people like things that are familiar to them; they are just more comfortable with them. I bring to example that in the Elizabethan era in Great Britain, if a play being performed was not to the audience's liking, they would boo the actors and request something they were more familiar with.

2 ) If you reference LARPing or D&D (when you aren't a D&D sponsored book) or any other popular fantasy thing (ex: World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, etc.) , I will not take you seriously.

Seriously, I know both are popular but please don't reference them in your book. I grit my teeth even when authors use 'YouTube' and 'Facebook' in their prose, even though I know both of the websites are huge in the modern world. I think having to reference something in real life in your fantasy novel makes the story that much less creative, and we know what a stickler a lot of fantasy readers are for creativity. Like any other rule out there, there is only one exception and that is Andre Norton's Quag Keep. This is only because Quag Keep was the first novel to reference LARPing and even poke fun at it, comedic fantasy at its' finest. But are you really so lazy in your novel as to have to reference something else to spare you the trouble of having to describe it in your own book? Lame, dude. Just lame.

 3 ) Recycling the same plot is boring...

I'm looking at you, David Eddings. Yes, the first 'magic stone' series was well and good, but did you have to write a second series in a 'different world' with a 'different magic stone' and it was 'totally not what you wrote in your first series, guys' .... this goes back to the 'the weirder your names and your plot is, the more likely it is to be highly regarded' ... people like it when you go out of your comfort zone a little bit. Granted, some of the best known authors have a formula that works for them and they just keep writing it. Just because they are best-known though doesn't make them the greatest authors. All of the authors I know who are considered generally awesome by everyone like to push themselves to writing something different, and I totally respect that.

Then again, there is a problem with high-fantasy that it is the same plot (generally a war) that is recycled over a series of books, but with different characters and different sides. I suppose if you have compelling enough characters and an interesting enough world like in the case of Lord of the Rings then it isn't much of a problem, but... well, I've beat a dead horse long enough. You guys know what I'm trying to say, right?

4 ) I'm not officially diagnosed but it is in my family and I think I have mild ADD

Anything over 300-400 pages is difficult for me to tune in to that long, and any series that stretched on with the same plot for like seven books with not a lot of variation is near impossible. Hell, I can't even watch an hour long TV episode before I feel like I'm bored and need to do something else. The only thing I'm good at tuning in to is video games and progressive metal albums. I'm slightly better at paying attention to audiobooks, but I'm guessing it's because I'm an auditory learner.

So, what do you think? - do you have some quirks about reading books? Discuss.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Checkout Math and Video Materials

Let me share one of my concerns with you, my patrons at the public library check out an awful lot of video material. When I think about the amount of video material they check out, I wonder to myself how in the world are they able to watch all of them in their one week, no renewal checkout span. I can hardly get a one and a half hour movie watched in a week; I am so busy! - mostly reading, but perhaps it's just that I don't like television in general.

If it was only one and a half hour movies getting checked out, I suppose I wouldn't be so bothered. However, when I notice patrons checking out copious amounts of television series all to be watched in a week, that's when I begin to do some disturbing math ....

Patrons can check out 4 DVDs out at once. So, say for instance, our patron Joe checks out 4 TV series seasons, each with 4 to 5 discs. Each season about 13 episodes long, each episode lasts 44 minutes without the commercials....

4 DVDs x 13 episodes x 44 minutes = 2288 minutes / 60 minutes = 38 hours of video materials.

7 day checkout x 24 hours per day = 168 hours in a week.

38 / 168 = 22.6% time of week watching TV

Now... I tried to plug it into my schedule which includes 40 hours of work and I get a good 8 hours of sleep every night plus 7 hours of lunch breaks where I'm not near a TV....

168 avaliable - 40 work - 56 sleep - 7 lunches = 65 hours of free time per week.

65 - 38 = 27 hours after I watch all my TV series I checked out from the library.

38 / 65 = 60% of my free time watching TV.

Then I try to think about all the other things I have to do in those short 65 hours... like take care of my dog and cats and chickens, do grocery shopping, clean/organize, drive to and from places, spend time with my loved ones, READ! (I can't imagine my life without reading) ... and play video games with my lovely one and my bro... that's an awful lot of TV time. I couldn't do it. Sitting in front of a TV that long would drive me crazy.

Now I have to do some factoring for variables : what if Joe doesn't have a job? or works part-time? what if Joe has no responsibilities other than his job? what if Joe's family time IS TV time? what if Joe doesn't sleep at all? What if Joe has multiple TVs in his house and multiple people watching the DVDs he check out? I hope that there is truth to the last one.

38 hours of television seems like a lot to me, so I am baffled when there are families of four or five or more members who come in all wanting to check out video materials on their cards. Now they have GOT to have multiple TVs (or the TV is on constantly) in order to get through all the material they check out.

That is a lot of people watching a lot of television in their spare time.

I'm a little overwhelmed with those numbers, probably because I hardly watch more than an hour or two of television every week. Okay, so I like to play on YouTube so I'll count that as TV time, but I'm not even on for more than 10-15 minutes every day. Granted, I probably play video games for six to eight hours out of that week (and even more after Skyrim came out, but can you really blame me? If not, Fus-Ro-Dah you.) I read at least seven hours every week; some weeks when I get a really good batch, I read even more than that. I'm awfully proud of that.

.... of course, there is the horrible inevitable that they don't watch the movies at all and simply pirate them through those DVD copying softwares. And while I know they really can't get in trouble for it unless they try to sell them or give out a whole bunch of copies to their friends... that's not cool, man.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What is Classic Horror?

Around Halloween time, a few patrons came to the library wanting to read novels of 'classic horror.' I recommended what I could, but the past few weeks have really left me thinking... what is 'classic horror' ?

Firstly, I have to define 'classic horror' ... is it horror that contains classical elements? Or is it simply horror that is well-known and well-written? If it must contain classical elements, then I get to throw out a bunch of things... namely sexy vampires and werewolves, zombies, and extraterrestrials.... which leaves us with elements like ghosts, satanic (or in some minds violent pagan) rituals, demons, and possessions.
The immediate authors that come to mind are...

Edgar Allen Poe's Tales of Mystery and the Imagination
H. P. Lovecraft's The Dunwich Horror and The Call of Cthulhu 
Matthew Gregory Lewis's The Monk
Arthur Machen's The White People
William Blatty's The Exorcist

... but there are many who are likely to argue that medical horror would have classical elements so that means I need to include...

Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
H.G. Wells's The Island of Dr. Moreau

... but some would argue that these aren't traditional horror. These are truly borderline science-fiction / horror novels. So, I feel obligated to say they are sci-horror but not classic horror.

And what about novels like Bram Stoker's Dracula ? - there's a little too much of a love/drama element keeping it from being truly terrifying, even if it is Vlad the Impaler we are talking about. In order to be horror in the classical style, it needs to be horrific throughout.

And novels like Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire or Stephen King's The Shining or Cujo.... they aren't written classically. Granted, they have a cult status and if they persevere long enough, I'm sure they will make it into the canon of classic literature.

Splatterpunk novels like Richard Matheson's Hell House and Clive Barker's Books of Blood fall into the same category that Anne Rice and Stephen King's novels do.

I'm sure that there are a dozen of other great 'classic' or 'cult classic' novels and authors that I have overlooked. Therefore, I encourage a conversation : what would you classify as a 'classic' horror novel and why?

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Plea to the Horror Authors of the World

I have a predicament, and I'm sure I'm not the only one in the world that struggles as I do... but I am a big horror novel fan, and lately the horror just isn't up to par. Sure, it's gross, but not gross the way it should be. While I am craving blood and guts and monsters and bump-in-the-nights, the horror and splatterpunk authors of late have done nothing but throw liberal amounts of sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, all up in my face. Rape and molestation are one thing, sexual pervesion is okay in small doses, and they can definitely add a creepy factor to any story, but lately that's the only thing I've managed to read about in horrible from lesser-known authors.

Any time I mention horror, I get the 'big three' thrown at me : Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Dean Koontz.

While I'm not familiar with Koontz's work, I've read a good deal of King and Rice. These authors' works are pretty tasteful all around so it's no wonder people prefer to read their scary stories over some of the others. Everyone else, like Kim Armstrong and Lauren Hamilton, just right urban paranormal romance... where the concept of a vampire is creepy, but no, their otherworldly lovers are anything but creepy.

Pfffft. Please....

Craving something a little more, I decided to look into the 'splatterpunk' genre. For those of you who don't know ::: SPLATTERPUNK, courtesy Wikipedia. And the TL;DR version - "bills itself as horror with no limits; hypertensive"

Well known 'splatterpunk' authors include.... Clive Barker (best known for his 'Hellraiser' movies and the short stories series 'Books of Blood'), Richard Matheson (Twilight Zone screenwriter and best known for his books 'I Am Legend' and 'Hell House'), Edward Lee (whom I will complain about momentarily), Richard Laymon (again, complain about), and Poppy Z. Brite (gay underaged vampire incest.)

Now.... Barker and Matheson are legends, and for a reason, they successfully balance sex and gore in their work. I've no qualms; in fact, I have recommendations. For those who think King and Rice too meek, check out ....

... the former being a delightful haunted house story and the other is a collection of shorts.

But these are considered the classics. The contemporaries are pathetic by comparison ....  let me give you an idea of what I'm talking about...

First up on my chopping block, Mr. Edward Lee. The evidence ....

Let's start with The Golem....

What the hell is this novel about? - well, it's supposed to be about a demented rabbi who is raising people from the dead for his own personal political gain and killing other people in the town.

The Golem has a lot of good things going for it- 1) It has a monster that it familiar to most but not exploited on like vampires or werewolves which keeps it relatively fresh, 2) it has actual religious mysticism in it which means that there is some history and some sense of realism, 3) Edward Lee writes really good scenes of violence and shadowy descriptions of monsters/demons which adds to the excitement factor.

The Golem unfortunately has a lot of bad things going for it as well - 1) this story takes place in two different time periods and it almost constantly flipping back and forth between them. It would have been a lot better if he had simply stuck with one setting and explained everything from there. He creates too many storylines and characters within and single story for anyone to really give a damn about anything, 2) this particular story is a little misogynistic. All of the women are either sex tools or drug addicts and treated worse than the animals. As a woman reader, I did not find any of this very tasteful while I realize that sex is a large part of the horror genre. Lee doesn't write it as scary or frightening but just something that happens. That is what disturbs me.

And did I mention all the sex? Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex. There were, I kid you not, four accounts of rape within the first fifty pages. That's just ridiculous. It's not scary. It's just distasteful.

And if you thought that was bad, just wait until you board The Black Train.

What the hell is this novel even about? - well, it's supposed to be a ghost story about a cruel Civil War railroad owner whose spirit still inhabits a local hotel and influences the patrons. But all he really influences the patrons to do... is be obnoxiously horny. Yes, you heard me right.

The narrative in this book is nonexistant. The only well-written parts are the lucid Civil War dreams. For two-hundred and eighty pages, this book could not decided what the hell it wanted to do, everyone had sex with everybody, and then the last sixty pages Lee crams in a romance and a haunted house tale to boot.

This would have been a much better short story, but dragging it all out for over three hundred pages? - it just became a perverted snoozefest.

I am not impressed, Mr. Edward Lee. Not at all.

I don't have as strong an opinion of Mr. Richard Laymon because I only read one of his novels....

 [ x ]

I was unable to pull up a picture of the cover of this book so pretend the [x] is a haunted house with a red sky and the words THE MIDNIGHT TOUR in gold letters. Ok?

I later learned that this books is actually the third in the series, so I'm giving myself a little room for doubt because the first two books could have been really good and the third book really crapped out on everything, but considering it has an interesting background - a previously haunted manor where a bloodthirsty monster ripped people to shreds and now it's open as a tourist attraction and only the bravest ones dare take what is called 'the midnight tour' - it has a lot of promise, am I right?

It fails. My first reaction was "What is this? I don't even ._. ... "

What is really sad about this book is that the characters are great and believable and fun, but as far as the plot goes, it is lamer than lame. Great premise but there's no action. It read more like a love/sex/romance/drama story with a couple of ugly, graphic killings in between, but an almost total lack of suspense. Everybody is the book is just kind of screwing around. Literally.

The scariest part is when they describe the various museum murder recaptures.... and that isn't even real.

You disappoint me, Mr. Richard Laymon.

I'm not even going to bother with Poppy Z. Brite. Her 'best known for' above explains it all... appeals most likely to yaoi fangirls.

.... so these are the books that I have to sit and read while the big 3 write (or have ghost writers write) more, and Clive Barker directs movies now, and Richard Matheson is dead (I think...)

Can we please do better than this, splatterpunk and horror authors? Try a story formula a little more like Ben Winters's Bedbugs.

Sexually implicative title. Discreet amount of sex. Heavy on the suspense. Bits of creepy moments here and there, and then let the flood gates loose and completely horrify everyone at the end. Marvelous.

In the meantime, I'll be going through Dean Koontz's novels. The question is... where do I begin?