You wouldn’t think taking my mother to appointments would stop the site in its tracks, would you?
Yeah, I didn’t think so either, but here we are. I guess that hour out of my day is The Blogging Hour and I had no idea until now.
I haven’t forgotten my 1.4 readers, though: Fright Night review is going to happen! Now on Valentine’s Day, because I love it that much, and because I shouldn’t write about how awesome Donald O’Connor is in Singin’ In The Rain two years in a row. See you next month!
While making a list of things to watch during October, I noticed a certain… similarity about my choices. An actor who kept popping up again and again like a bad penny or a relentless supernatural killer.
Then I wondered if I’d have time to watch all this stuff by Halloween.
I know, I haven’t been posting on schedule, partly from laziness and partly from a desire to get some movies I haven’t seen into the Friday mix this month (The Conjuring arrives at my house tomorrow and will be written up the minute someone can pull me off the ceiling and stop the whimpering, I assume).
Until then, an anecdote from this century this time: I Am A Prophet, But Not A Very Good One
In 2003, I was still with the guy I refer to as Future Ex-Husband. I was also working on a piece of fanfiction for my own amusement (amazingly, not about Highlander—though I did see a crossover fic once).
I had an original character in this story and was working on her backstory, realizing that people don’t spend seven years only doing [big plot activity]. No, she’d probably dated at least one person, even if it hadn’t worked out. So I invented another character, “Bill,” whose job put him near the action of the story. They’d dated for a couple of years, but she was more interested in her work, and eventually the two of them split up. Bill had brown hair and glasses and presented himself as being more stable than he probably was. A good guy, in other words, who was too flawed to date.
My unfinished story got stuck in a drawer for ten years, the first two of which were spent breaking up with the FEH. A year or so after the separation, I entered what in retrospect was probably the rebound phase and started dating again.
He had brown hair and glasses. He thought of himself as a strong, stable relationship partner, but he could be moody and flaky. And I kid you not, his name was “Will,” one letter off from the fellow in my fanfic. They even worked in the same general field… and I did not notice any of this until I pulled that story out of my desk in 2013, long after it could have done me any good.
That’s right—I predicted my own rebound guy in a silly fanfic and I still went out with him, never once making the connection between Fanfiction Bill and Sitting-Next-To-Me-in-2006 Will.
So take it from me: you’ll probably gain more wisdom by reading other people, but do look over your own drafts once in a while. Your dignity may depend on it.
It finally happened: Thanks to some plotting for October and December (which, surprise!, will look a lot like most people’s October in terms of Friday posts), I’ve kind of cordoned off my possibilities for slow viewing weeks. As a result, I am all out of Friday at the moment.
When TV shows hit this sort of obstacle, they often do a clip show, so I will too.
Apropos Of Our Cynical Omelet: Search Terms And Me
I love reading search-term posts on other sites, but having few readers means it’s taken almost two years to amass enough for one of my own. I also think it might be fun to grade the Omelet in terms of providing service, so let’s see what people have been looking for!
“Hellboy’s heroine”—This was my first-ever search term, and though I’ve since referred to the end of the Hellboy movie, all this person got was a photo of my 2014 Hellboy Halloween costume. I’m so sorry. Grade: D+
“Sean Connery and Carol Sopel”—Apparently these two were married. I didn’t know that before seeing someone look for it, and I can’t imagine the searcher felt edified by my bitching about Highlander and Darby O’Gill. Grade: F
“Highlander absorbance”—This is the search term I’m most proud of; when I first noticed the spelling of “absorbance” on Brenda’s printout in the movie, I couldn’t find any confirmation that it was correct. That was several years ago, however, and the internet is much improved. I’m oddly pleased to be a resource to the three other proofreading Highlander fans out there. Grade: A+
“Jay Sherman and his sister Margo”—I mentioned the sibling relationship in my Friday post on The Critic, but didn’t really get into it. Margo’s great, though. Grade: B-
“Count Blah”—I used the Count—a Greg the Bunny character veeeeerrrry loosely based on the other famous vampire puppet—as a sight gag in my review of Frankenstein. I should probably do a Found-Again post for Greg the Bunny one of these days. Grade: C
“Kurgan fanfic”—Dude, I have tried: not to write any, but to find some, especially when I was doing the There Can Be Only Monday! posts. After on-and-mostly-off searching since I first saw the movie in the early 2000s, I have found maybe five stories. Highlander’s villain is such a beloved bad guy…by me, for one…but apparently does not inspire people to churn out reams of prose. Grade: does effort count?
When I was a kid, time in the car with my parents was spent listening to WLTY*, the “lite” radio station that played ’60s, ’70s and ’80s music, with a little ’50s thrown in. (This is probably where I get my lifelong affinity for sappy songs. You will pry my copy of History: America’s Greatest Hits from my cold, dead fingers, if that.)
Sometimes WLTY would play Richie Valens, and Mom would say, “He was so good. It’s a shame there won’t be more music from him.” Valens, of course, was dead.
Sometimes they’d play Jim Croce—actually, often they’d play Jim Croce—and again: “He was so talented. It’s a shame there won’t be any more music.” Jim Croce, as you probably know, is also no longer with us.
Sometimes they’d play “American Pie” or “Vincent” by Don McLean, and my mother would say exactly the same thing…
You can see where this is going, can’t you? To me being the only person struck with eldritch terror upon finding out Don McLean was playing Harborfest in 1990, that’s where.
Our house had an open-plan kitchen/living room. I was on the sofa. “Mom?” I called out.
Mom, cooking dinner: “What?”
I cleared my throat meaningfully. “It says here Don McLean’s playing in Norfolk this weekend.”
Nothing. If he weren’t a zombie, wouldn’t she express some interest since she loved his music? Then again, if he were in fact a zombie, she should definitely express some interest. I tried again.
“But isn’t he, you know…”
She did not know.
Thinking a musician from times past is dead is a normal mistake (especially in 2016). That’s the point at which a normal human being would have looked at the news and concluded that they’d misinterpreted what might be called Mom’s Standard Eulogy For Musicians. I’d love to say I have no idea what I was thinking, but I do. I was thinking GHOSTS AT HARBORFEST!, and for some reason couldn’t be deterred from thinking it.
What was even less normal, in retrospect, was the way I not only brought it up but backed gently into the idea, as if I were actually going to find out that Don McLean was a revenant, but only if I asked in just the right way so as not to alarm the ‘rents.
Eventually my mother stopped laughing at me…for this particular incident, anyway.
And I have never, in the intervening decades, been in any doubt as to whether Don McLean is alive or dead. In fact, every time I tell this story I seem to gain yet another person who will personally call me on the phone if and when the sad news ever breaks.
I can’t say I actively recommend the “embarrass yourself horribly” method of remembering whether a given famous person is alive or not, but I do know it works like a charm.
*I see that the WLTY call letters are now used by a station in Cayce, SC. The mystic Edgar Cayce used to live in…the Tidewater area, where I grew up! Coincidence? You bet.
The foolhardy and the bored can now officially navigate through my first 37 Highlander posts—the ones about the original movie— in order via helpful links. In my defense, going back and fixing that was exactly as boring as I thought it would be.
This is the third book in a hard-boiled detective series starring young Maggie Sullivan, a P.I. trying to make her way in 1930s Dayton (at some point, Ohio seems to have become the new Chicago as far as the detective novels I read are concerned). Maggie and her friends and helpers are beautifully written, the historical setting is interesting, the mysteries are excellent, and if she doesn’t give her possible love interest a break I am going to explode from frustration. The man can play a penny whistle and catch bad guys, for god’s sake.
What I Should Have Been Reading: I just bought a three-in-one volume of Philip Marlowe novels after seeing The Big Sleep for the first time this summer. Until then, I’d just assumed there were Hammett people and Chandler people in the world and I was clearly Team Dashiell; if I can ever stop reading about Maggie Sullivan, I’m going to put that hypothesis to the test.
(On a side note, any fellow mystery/movie buffs who are reading this: isn’t The Big Sleep odd? I can’t think of any other movie I enjoyed so much that seemed so much longer than its actual runtime.)
I came late to podcasted dramas after a few years of subscribing to the driest “Boring Fact of the Day”-type podcasts you could imagine. I was therefore probably the last to know about Wormwood, a sort of supernatural(…er) Twin Peaks in which a vision leads booze-swilling former psychologist/current sorcerer Dr. Xander Crowe and his technomancer assistant Sparrow to the titular town. When I did find the 2007 series, I promptly put off listening to the last season for months on end because I didn’t want Wormwood to stop. Fortunately, there’s also a comic book series and two short-story anthologies to keep fans of Crowe and Sparrow from languishing. The book badly needed more proofreading, but the stories are often excellent as two of the most entertaining misanthropes in fiction take on demons, mythical creatures, themselves and each other.
What I Should Have Been Reading: I’ve been on a weird-fiction kick of late and took a chance on a book of Thomas Ligotti stories. I’ve paused halfway through, but the man is a master of elegant prose about horrible things, and I can’t believe I’d never heard of him before this year. I suspect this is how I’m supposed to feel about Raymond Carver but don’t.
I should also start re-listening to Wormwood, for that matter.
The Thing I (Re)Read: Various portions of the Addison Holmes mysteries by Liliana Hart
These books have a special place in my heart—extra-special, considering I’ve read four of them and can’t decide if I like them, and I’ll probably buy the next one and feel the same way. It might be more accurate to say they have a special place in my wallet. But the Addison Holmes books are the story of one woman, not particularly suited for the job, becoming a private investigator—a subject I’m currently trying to write about myself. Watching Addison train and deal with an increasingly demanding vocation when she starts out as a schoolteacher is, dare I say it, educational.
What I Should Have Been Reading: Oh, maybe something from this nice collection of mystery-writing books I have?
Additional Warning About The Dangerous Ease of Buying E-books: I own Claire DeWitt and the City of the Deadon Nook? When the hell did that happen? You should pick it up, though; it’s really good.
Next time: What anybody who was all Frankensteined out for the year would do: watch Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein for the first time since the oughts.