Showing posts from January, 2014

Let's Talk Games!

Next week Chris and I will be heading to a neighboring town for a weekend of geekery. We are attending something called MassiveLAN - which is basically up to 300 gamers in a convention center gaming as hard as they can with no sleep and questionable shower breaks. LAN stands for Local Area Network - basically we're all hooked up together and we're all in the same space. Eventually LAN parties will become a thing of the past, mostly because gaming computers for the serious can be huuuge, annoying and dangerous to move, and with high speed Internet, it's almost nuts to leave the comfort of your own home. For those of us who still go, it's nice to get together and game with new people who you can then talk to in person. This particular LAN party also features games like office chair races, computer building competitions, and other like-minded fun. (Trivia for those of you that don't know - Chris and I originally met at a LAN party.) To give you an idea, here is a shot

Winding up Somewhere You Shouldn't Be

On Friday, I was in downtown Buffalo getting ready to have an interview. (In November, I became unemployed and have since gone back to the pet shop where I used to work. It's good for now. But if I snag something in IT I will be significantly happier!) If you've never been in downtown Buffalo, I highly recommend it. There are all kinds of hidden museums and creepy landmarks. There is, however, not much parking. I spent about 40 minutes circling around this particular block, looking for a parking space. There was literally nowhere to go! I then went a few blocks down and found myself trying navigate one-way streets, and then wound up parallel to my destination, but one street over. I was waiting at a light, extremely exasperated, when I glanced at the shop on my right. Lo and behold! I had found the hidden bookshop! Friends of friends had been whispering about a mom and pop bookshop "somewhere in Buffalo, possibly near Hertel Ave". While this place was absolutely nowhe

A New Genre

They say you learn something new everyday, and I believe it's true. I also believe that people can't let something just exist without categorizing it. Case in point: about a year ago, I was in my local Barnes & Noble wandering aimlessly. I was hoping to stumble on a new book, new author, or new anything. At the time, their Fiction section began with a wall full of anthologies of different sorts. Among them was The Mammoth Book of Body Horror. I had no idea what "body horror was", but I knew that Mammoth books generally don't disappoint. I grabbed it (and let's be honest, about 5 other books) and left. It sat on my shelf for awhile because I was extremely busy getting married and buying my first house with my new husband. In any event, some months after we got married, I happened to be thumbing through the introduction to The Mammoth Book of Body Horror . I wasn't sure what body horror was, or if I would like it. After all, I viscerally hate the Hostel

The performance Ryan Reynolds WISHED he gave...

I'm all for Ryan Reynolds . Green Lantern ? Loved it. The Proposal ? Loved that too. The Amityville Horror ? Gimme gimme! X-Men Origins: Wolverine ? Hell yes! Buried ? Not on your life. Ryan Reynolds' acting was alright. It wasn't stellar, but it wasn't terrible. It just seriously lacked a certain... je ne sais quoi . Reynolds plays a truck driver who works in Iraq. He is attacked, and wakes up inside a coffin buried. He has a lighter, a cell phone, and very limited time to be found and rescued before his oxygen supply is gone. This should have been a riveting movie. I should have been sore all over from the tense atmosphere and my incessant worries for the main character. I should have cared what happened to him. Instead, I was left wondering where my 95 minutes had gone, and if there was some way to get them back. In short, I should have been watching Wrecked . Adrien Brody always pulls off a masterful performance, whether he is the main character or not. His role pr

Hungry for more zombies?

I have long been a fan of Christopher Golden 's anthologies. The man has a knack for choosing really interesting stories, by really good authors. His collection, 21st Century Dead , is no exception. I read this book, cover to cover, in about three days. Every story is top-notch. In some stories, people are the heroes, in others, people are worse than the living dead. Each story has something unique to add to the zombie cannon. 21st Century Dead contains stories by familiar names, as well as some that may not be so familiar. It's always so hard to pick favorites from anthologies this good, but I will do my best. Jonathan Maberry wows with "Jack and Jill", the story of two twins who shared everything, until Jack was diagnosed with cancer. Jill continued with school, while Jack began treatment for the cancer. After that, things weren't the same. Jack and Jill continued to be close, but not in the same way. They couldn't experience the same milestones, and both kn

Truly Tantalizing Tales

I read often, the upside of which is that I experience great storytelling, and the downside of which is that sometimes I can predict how a story is going to end. That's the worst, isn't it? Being drawn into a story, turning pages with sweaty fingers, only to find that the ending was exactly as you thought it would be, and feeling the subsequent disappointment.  Luckily for readers like us, author Kenneth W. Cain keeps you guessing right until the end in his anthology These Old Tales - A Collection of Dark Fiction . With each new story, I kept trying to guess the ending, and each time I was wrong. Within the pages of this book, you will find the usual culprits.  There are zombies, werewolves, and devils.  However, there are other terrors without a name - and these are some of the worst, because you can't protect yourself from what you don't understand.  To say that Cain has filled his anthology with strange stories is an understatement!  Cain's strength is in his abi

Merry Whatever-You-Celebrate!

All of the cookies have been baked (and eaten). All of the presents have been opened. All of the boxes have been test-sat by the cat. All of the family visiting has been done. All of the over 120 ornaments on the tree have survived the cat (hurrah!) All of the gifts have been given and received. All of the cleaning started a few days ago - and I guarantee you're not done yet. I believe I'm going to start with the tree. As much as I enjoy the Christmas tree, it's taking up a prime spot in the living room where the hamster usually resides. (This year he will be joined by the as-yet-not-named gerbil.) Additionally, I think I'm playing with fire - so many shiny objects in reach of the cat. I'm all but begging her to attack it. After the tree comes down, I have to find places for the cookie sheets, baking racks, and other accoutrements of the holiday baking season. Not to mention putting away the new presents. While that's going on, it's important to have seasona

2014 - The Resolutions!

In the last post, I reflected on the past year. Overall things went pretty swell. I declined to speak much on the negative, mostly because that involved other people and I don't feel it's my right to display their heartbreak or failures for the Internet to see. That being said, I want to dedicate this post to the resolutions I have made for the upcoming year. I wanted to go beyond the intangible resolutions such as "be healthy". What the hell does that mean? Technically speaking, it means I can eat a bag of baked potato chips because they are healthier than regular potato chips. There's just one big issue there...I'm still eating a bag of potato chips. 1. Fully consume before purchasing. This one sounds pretty obvious, but you'd be surprised. You're reading the words of a girl who has about 5 different shampoos, 6 different body lotions, and more makeup than I care to admit. (This doesn't count for food - I'm not buying each ingredient when I

Reflecting on 2013...

Image day into 2014. Before I begin my list of New Year's Resolutions, and why I chose them, I want to spend some time thinking about the year I just experienced. Here were some of the highlights. On January 8th, my (then) fiance and I adopted a little ball python from PETsMART, which we named Sammy. He wasn't eating well, and we wanted to make sure that he got a good home that would give him veterinary care. He did well for awhile, but always had trouble eating (frozen food) and shedding. Sammy was very sweet and pretty much everyone loved him. On October 8th, he passed away in the company of my (now) husband. He is buried in the backyard, next to our back porch. On January 13th, I married the love of my life, and my closest friend. His name is Chris, and if you've been reading my posts with any regularity, you probably recognize him in name. (He's the dashing young man next to me in the picture at the left!) Here we are at the banquet after our wedding. We chose a n