31. Silk – Caitlin R. Kiernan
I’m not going to lie, there are parts of me that just wish I was a lot cooler in the 1990s. And by “cooler” I mean, older and able to get into clubs where I would have died quickly of an asthma attack because there weren’t any smoking bans back then. Sigh. But I would have seen so many more bands I like in person (surely!) and worn my leather pants with purpose. (I had one pair. They were a very important Christmas present for my psyche. I am proud to report that they didn’t squeak when I wore them, but I did not have nearly enough opportunities. I still have them, but I’m not sure if they fit as they were last deployed on my birthday in 2005.) I probably would have said a lot of really annoying things about how “maybe I’ll just, like, write a novel about vampires or some shit and like, send it in to some random horror publisher,” that totally would have worked out. Totally. Maybe I would have developed a taste for coffee. Perhaps I would have seen Slayer in a much smaller venue than they play now – and developed permanent tinnitus early on. Dreams. As Mitch Hedberg said, “I’m sick of following my dreams. I’m just going to ask them where they’re goin’ and hook up with them later.”
Anyway, all I could think about while reading Silk was the 1990s. And how ridiculously familiar many of the characters were to friends I’ve known since I did become old enough to get into music venues. Yes, let’s all hang out in the parking lot and speak way too loudly for no reason at 2AM. Let’s. Let’s also never shut up about coffee, oh wait, that’s STILL HAPPENING. Also the smoking. I have one terrible ex-boyfriend who fancied himself a filmmaker who did that thing that everyone who smokes and had a video camera when they weren’t ubiquitous on phones does where they film someone smoking in black and white and linger on the smoke. Linger. Soundtrack it with Portishead. I know I would have loved this book and considered it to be somewhat aspirational when I was in middle school – because I had no idea how annoying most people were going to turn out to be. Even me.
Silk is a little more plot conscious than some of the other Kiernan works I’ve read, but reading it as a jaded, cynical adult with some failure under my belt I had very little ability to care about the characters – partly because they’re interchangeable, partly because the genesis of Kiernan’s atmostpheric, impressionist writing style is here and it doesn’t give much room for fully developing her people.
Pickles imitates the Hype Williams’ music video staple – fish eye lens. She’s all nose here, and not too long ago someone told me guinea pigs are “all nose” and I’m a little irritated to find proof as I don’t like how he said it. Damn it, Vincent.
7. One Evil Summer – R.L. Stine
A long time ago, in a land about one hundred miles away from the land I am currently occupying, I settled in to a long afternoon of playing while sort of watching TV and stumbled upon a movie where this weird lady took a baby into the woods and gave the baby to a tree. It seemed interesting and so I watched the rest of it -and this was before the internet, before the little guide on the television, and we had no subscription to TV Guide, and so it took me a REALLY long time to figure out that it was The Guardian. Bastard film of William Friedkin who would scare me half to death by creating a relatable situation in The Exorcist – he took his name off The Guardian for cable, not that I saw the beginning where it also explained that Druids worshipped trees (but- but- when were they building henges in danger of being crushed?). I saw some wolves, I got confused, and I am now never surprised by evil nanny stories. One Evil Summer is an evil nanny/babysitter story and it needed more wolves. And a creepy tree.
1. I Am the Sun – Swans
2. Black God Forest – Those Poor Bastards
3. Are You Okay? – Dum Dum Girls
4. Anything, Anything – Dramarama
5. Jinx – Snakefinger
6. Lady Shoes – Jesus Lizard
7. 1985 – Kvelertak
8. Cat Claw – The Kills
9. Vacation – Absolutely Not
10. The Serpent & The Pig – Zebras
11. Two Hearted Woman – Electric Citizen
12. Drawing Down the Moon – Blood Ceremony
13. Nothin’ – Rowland S. Howard
14. Charmer – Kings of Leon
15. Superstition – The Kills
16. Wide At Midnight – The Wytches
When they film Ozymandias’ story, which might involve creepy trees prior to my having acquired him, it’s likely that Sam Raimi will sign on to direct initially, but then we’ll have to settle for William Friedkin.
We are taking a break from our regularly scheduled programming to bring you a message about painting and excitement for the Twin Peaks new season premiering this Sunday and of course, guinea pigs.
This year I’ve been working on some more paintings that inject my sweet little guineas into glorious television shows. I started this series last year with my Danger Dixon parody, Danger Who number 10 and Danger Who number 11 , iPiggie , and now I give you the ladypigs of Twin Peegs.
But first, because Laura always comes first, I did a little photoshoot of Ozma acting as Laura being menaced by BOB in Fire Walk With Me:
I’m sure you can all tell this is an exact and painstaking recreation. I didn’t have to convince Ozma to walk in that direction and be menaced several times.
Funko Bob is super intimidating.
There we go. Fully menaced Ozma-Laura, running away…
In the actual paintings I decided to cast Merricat as Audrey Horne (my favorite Twin Peaks high schooler):
Ozma as Shelly Johnson:
Here’s Ozma not even really looking at herself as Shelly.
And Miss Peregrine herself as the Log Lady (my favorite Twin Peaks adult lady. I have a log pillow and vaguely debated trying to get my mom to buy me a real log when visiting the Twin Peaks section of a gift shop in Snoqualmie Falls as a teenager):
Peregrine’s log saw something that night.
Peregrine also got some time with a small toy version of her character:
In the White Lodge – which is clearly not my bedroom -, they allow attempted hair cuts the same way I get them – guinea pig teeth.
Peregrine starts to take this whole thing a little more seriously.
Each of the full paintings is available on a variety of objects/in several fashions (posters, coffee mugs you can fill with fish coffee or damn fine coffee, either way, phone cases, my favorite the throw pillow, etc.) on my Redbubble page.
Guinea pigs love art work. And posing for pictures. And pie. And Special Agent Dale Cooper most of all, but also Albert.
My little man.
Danger Crumples was the most important guinea pig I’ll ever have. I love all my pigs, they’re all so completely special to me, but Danger Crumples always stood out. He was very clearly the star. As far as I’m concerned, he always will be. There’s no denying his charisma- I can’t think of anyone who saw him in person that didn’t want to pet him or didn’t try to get his attention. He’s pretty unforgettable.
On January 22nd, he passed away after a relatively swift decline. I stayed with him the entire time, making sure my best friend and the most consistently inspiring of all my muses knew how important and loved he was and still is. I also had him cremated so that he has to come with me wherever I move for the rest of time. He’d already lived in three states with me and taken every transition remarkably well, so, now he’s stuck in his bamboo box with a fly nameplate.
I was working on drawings of him for paintings and prints to bring to Wizard World Madison when he passed. As usual, he took some major roles – the tenth Doctor, the eleventh Doctor, the captain of the Elizabeth Dane-ger in Pigs in the Fog, an infected expedition member in The Pig – so he’s The Pig aka The Thing, anyway, YA author Christopher Pike, 1990s YA book cover model for said Christopher Pike takeover, and a little bit of the role of his not-real twin spirit- Hello Kitty. It’s very hard for me to draw and paint my pigs after they pass, so I left the painting of the Dangers until practically the last minute of my painting “schedule” and ended up painting seven Dangers at once. That was hard.
The seven Dangers.
The Danger Who original paintings and Hello Danger.
The Christopher Pike-Danger Crumples takeover. Danger Crumples Is Pigture Perfect.
Being both the author and cover star made it seem appropriate to make the titles a bit more literal – Danger Crumples…In a Car with a Skeleton.
The biggest one – where Danger Crumples is joined by friends Ozymandias and Horace – Pigs in a Graveyard.
( my profile on the Wizard World site )
12. Soulmate – L.J. Smith
I did not know of the Night World series, or any other L.J. Smith series, actually, until I found a bunch of Night World books in the detritus of a closing book store’s YA section in 2014. I was looking for 1970s, 80s, and 90s YA as I usually am and the 1990s editions of the series have the most amazing covers. They’re paintings (of course, like I’d really be attracted to photography-based covers in YA…so 2000s…) of the main female characters (sometimes with special guests) surrounded by flowers and weird monster and demon faces and one face that really looks like wolf form attacking Lucy in the rain-Gary Oldman-Dracula from Bram Stoker’s Dracula and ravens and black cats and this one has a candlestick and they are bizarre and awesome pieces of book coverage. I know that this one was published in 1997, when I was a freshmen in high school and had moved on to reading Interview with the Vampire and Silence of the Lambs, but if I had known about this series when I was a teen I would have totally loved it. The female characters are well drawn and considering these are always romances, they’re feisty enough to not drive me nuts with their romantic angst (they’re certainly not swooners or “rape me and I’m yours” types) and I know I would have totally related to them –minus opportunity- when I was younger.
Soulmate concerns a romance throughout the ages, kind of like what Gary Oldman-Dracula is trying to imprint upon Winona Ryder-Mina in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and by the way, I dug that movie quite a bit when I saw it as a teenager (surprise surprise); you know, “I have crossed oceans of time to find you” and all that other shit vampires say to not look like pedophiles to high school girls who don’t recognize them for the creepers that they are. Anyway, Hannah aka vampire dude’s soulmate, current body edition, is seeing a psychiatrist and it brings up repressed memories of her other lives with said vampire, and how said vampire murdered everyone she knew when they first met (and her) and it’s an interesting path to reconciliation. I know that the soulmate concept has a bigger part to play in the Night World, but I don’t have the whole series and I haven’t read all the ones I do have yet, so I have no idea where it’s going. Hopefully not a sad, couple filled kegger. Maybe Thunderdome for couples. I do know that I shelved the re-published, multiple books to one volume, covers featuring bland black and white photographs of random, staring girls versions of these books when I worked at the public library and I was not even remotely intrigued to read them. That was a shitty re-design, people. A shitty re-design. Those lonely, staring girls do not say “I have charisma and well constructed female characters inside.” They say “You will be alone forever inside the black void.” I, like, already know that.
Thaddeus knows Pickles is not his soulmate, that would be Pammy, but they still enjoyed each other’s company without dramatic protestations and no prehistoric villages had to be slaughtered.
1. “Seventh Wave” – Devin Townsend
2. “Satellite” – TV on the Radio
3. “Freya” – The Sword
4. “Sweet Leaf” – Black Sabbath
5. “Schyssta Logner” – Witchcraft
6. “Night City” – The Sword
7. “All Black” – Hanni El Khatib
8. “Long Time Coming” – Droids Attack
9. “Mouths of Madness” – Orchid
10. “Moonchild” – Fields of the Nephilim
11. “Satan/Dance You Fukr” – Zydepunks
12. “Bruane Brenn”- Kvelertak
13. “High Road” – Mastodon
13. The Dead Game – A. Bates
Humiliation and high school go together well in many areas across this great land. In this particular novel, the humiliation is not specifically reserved for outcasts and the perpetrators, beyond involving one insanity cookie whose artwork inspires the line: “Your fingers are like sausages poking at the clay.” (Awesome!), aren’t outcasts either. For once, the middle and high achievers are poking at each other, which I would have appreciated noticing when I was in high school. And middle school. And elementary school. Why weren’t they just working with those on their own playing field? Those who maybe wanted to compete? When I watch the Real World/Road Rules Challenge, which I do because some of those people have been on TV longer than I was in college and I recognize that achievement, they’re always whinging about people getting not getting rid of the stronger players because if they want to win, they should really win against people that are like them – good competitors-, not just leave weak teams till the end so that winning is easy. Picking on the weak is really just for most politicians and corporations anyway – but I guess some of them do get exposed through their own version of the dead game…but that can be the price of hubris and dick pics.
Her name may not be spelled the same as the usually trustworthy Wonder Pet guinea pig, but Morty’s not taking any chances; especially when Ming (aka “Ming-Ming”) is there too.
1. “Nuclear War (on the Dance Floor)” – Electric Six
2. “Digging the Grave” – Faith No More
3. “School” – Nirvana
4. “Rococo” – The Arcade Fire
5. “Dive” – Nirvana
6. “Down at McDonelllzzz” – Electric Six
7. “White Fright” – Bass Drum of Death
8. “Harnessed in Slums” – Archers of Loaf
9. “Sing” – Blur
10. “Prescilla” – Bat for Lashes
11. “He’s So Fine” – Bass Drum of Death
12. “Military Man” – Evil Cowards
13. “Breed” – Nirvana
14. “Laboramus” – The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
15. “Be Aggressive” – Faith No More
16. “Big Black Backwards” – Agents of Oblivion
17. “Oh Me” – Nirvana
21. Eyes of a Stranger – Sharon E. Heisel
Antique carousel! This was a horse of a different color when it comes to 1990s YA suspense. Normally, there’s a girl, maybe she moves to a new town and suddenly she finds a cute boy and – oh! – he asks her out or asks her to come to the party of that girl who has been giving her dirty looks since she first came to school and then something bad happens, probably to the cute boy, and then the very normal, clearly pretty girl deciphers the mystery and gets away while some random gets Scooby Dooed. Eyes of a Stranger gives the narrative main haul to Marissa, who is clearly pretty but also happens to have one leg that’s shorter than the other…which makes it very hard to run away. She also has some rules to live by that make her a relatively formidable opponent in comparison to the usual YA last girl protagonists. Marissa lives out in the country with her Uncle Paul, a carousel man, and helps him run the carousel whenever she isn’t in school. The carousel attracts one customer who has very icy eyes and keeps bringing different blonde girls to take a ride. Marissa is not blonde but I bet you can guess where this is going, but not what’s in his toolbox. Ugh.
This is Ozy’s “I’m suspicious” face. He wouldn’t be a great carousel employee, but he could definitely ferret out suspicious characters.
1. “Villain” – The Duke Spirit
2. “Thoughts of a Madman” – The Nomads
3. “French Bacon” – Electric Six
4. “The Fool” – The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
5. “Midnight Creeper” – Eagles of Death Metal
6. “Brief Encounters” – Franz Ferdinand
7. “Little Girl, Little Boy” – The Odyssey
8. “Wasted Away” – Dum Dum Girls
9. “Floating Friends” – Archers of Loaf
10. “Falling to Pieces” – Faith No More
11. “Black Don’t Glow” – Bass Drum of Death
12. “Stay Where You Are” – The Ettes
13. “Summer Ends” – The Raveonettes
14. “Dear Prudence” – Siouxsie and the Banshees
15. “She’s My Man” – Sigue Sigue Sputnik
16. “Friday Night” – The Darkness
17. “Lightning Song” – Queens of the Stone Age
19. Funhouse – Diane Hoh
I was reading an essay recently that involved a mild comparison of reactions to losing one’s job for confusing or right-to-work-state style reasons across genders and races…and one of those reactions, the homicidal maniac kind of reaction, seems to be perpetrated more often by the same kind of person who was responsible for all the “accidents” perpetrated at the seaside carnival in Diane Hoh’s Funhouse. Somebody’s ego and sense of honor was butthurt enough to begin trying super hard to kill teenagers related to the people that ruined his (oops, I was trying to be vague. Oh no!) working life and sense of family honor. Let’s just say that as a culture we’re lucky that everyone doesn’t have the most butthurtable of egos or there’d be no one left, especially not teenagers. I do have to say though, relevantly, the yard-based chase scene in this book was killer.
Pere and Merri’s idea of a funhouse. Look how much fun they’re clearly having. So. Much. Fun. Just for reference, they did that to themselves.
1. “White Riot” – The Clash
2. “Ultra Twist” – The Cramps
3. “Swollen Summer” – The Bravery
4. “Tonto” – Battles
5. “Lose My Mind” – Bass Drum of Death
6. “Pottery” – Butthole Surfers
7. “One By One” – The Ettes
8. “Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)” – The Doors
9. “Swim Club” – The Cave Singers
10. “Destroy the Children” – Dick Valentine
11. “Givin’ Up” – The Darkness
12. “He Gets Me High” – Dum Dum Girls
13. “I Gotta Feelin (Just Nineteen)” – Eagles of Death Metal
14. “Radiation Blues” – Dax Riggs
15. “Clogger” – 16 Horsepower
16. “People Are People” – Depeche Mode
17. “Worst Movie Ever” – Electric Six
Welcome to YA Megamix Summer the Return!! This summer I’m not even going to pretend that I will stick to the Point Horror/Thriller imprint, even though I love it so; instead, I’ll be sticking to my Year of the Ladies only reviewing books by women rules, which isn’t very hard. Just like last summer, the track listing will make one sixty minute mixtape – and I made the first one extra hard to duplicate unless you received Electric Six’s Mimicry and Memories project by shoving money at them like I did. Sorry? Anyway…
40. Graveyard Moon – Carol Gorman
Sax solo! Occasionally I read a book that has a scene that stands out so much that I can’t help but forget a large amount of what happened in the story. In the case of Graveyard Moon, that scene is Miles’ sax solo. I’m going to go ahead and retroactively claim that I named my character Miles (of Schad, Miles, and Hirsch the “dude” saying sort of Greek chorus in Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, and the perpetually forthcoming Night of the Squirrels) after Miles in Graveyard Moon because of the sax solo. It does not really happen organically – Miles is not in the school band, he doesn’t frequent jazz clubs, and he is not Duke Silver, he’s the town outcast (of course) – it happens because Kelly the main character asks him if he played for Darryl, and then asks him to play for her. It is so bizarrely fantastic and ridiculous that I could barely stand reading about it. And that is what I have chosen to share from Graveyard Moon, the teenage murder mystery. Also, I really enjoy Carol Gorman’s writing. Damnit, sax solo, you’re killing me.
Murderface and Pickles demonstrate the ways to respond to an impromptu sax solo – hiding… or surprise.
1. “Tired Eyes” – The Black Angels
2. “Stop, I’m Already Dead” – Deadboy & the Elephantmen
3. “Superstition” – The Kills
4. “Follow You Home” – The Creeps
5. “Ritual Knife” – Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats
6. “Easy Lover” – Electric Six
7. “So Young” – Suede
8. “Endless Night” – Graveyard
9. “Doom and Gloom” – Electric Six
10. “Chocolate Town” – Ween
11. “Perennials” – Widowspeak
12. “Taxidermy” – White Lies
13. “Somewhere Else to Be” – VAST
14. “Snakes Are Charmed” – Torche
15. “Bad Reputation” – Thin Lizzy
16. “Blood Red Blood” – The Ettes
39. Twisted – R. L. Stine
For the most part, I have been enjoying acquiring and re-reading the work of luminaries of the 1980s and 1990s YA pulp-paperback-size book boom. It’s been fun finding the patterns that R. L. Stine, Caroline B. Cooney, and Richie Tankersley Cusick (especially these three, oh, the 90s) use and reliving some of my own middle school patterns of devouring stories rather than really engaging with them. As I may have mentioned previously, I spent a long period reading practically nothing but literary fiction. When I started working at a public library, I was reminded that I enjoy genre fiction and that I had a shitload of reading options and I’ve gone back to the devouring pattern – although the two books I’m reading right now necessitate some concentration. Spooky. Anyway, Twisted was my first hop back into the “Really? This is all there is to this story?” feeling. Some stuff happens that’s vaguely interesting, but I called the twist on the first page. And I can be kind of an oblivious reader because of the devouring pattern, so I am always surprised when I get the twist…especially on the first damn page. Bummer.
Oh, and speaking of pulp-paperback-sized book booms, guess what? Point Horror is back! With Defriended, ooh, ominous and timely… If Scholastic and I were friends, surely they would hire me to write some of these and I would kick ass at it and be so, so terribly committed. The random horror story is practically my reason for living. And I’ve managed to lampoon or honor nearly everything I like about random horror in the two books I have available from the Night of the Squirrels trilogy – Dawn of the Interns and Day of the Robots (the last in the trilogy will take care of the rest).
“Is the call coming from inside the house?” – Pammy, inquisitive, sort of bearded.
“It always is if the writer’s phoning it in.” – Twiglet, hiding her face because I assigned her this technically sad-joke dialogue.