Tag Archives: Murderface

Fitter. Happier. Whatever.

16. Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig

A common problem amongst depressed persons and persons with depressive tendencies is isolation. Some people are truly isolated and some are just mentally isolating themselves, both have valid situations, but this conceptually is one of the reasons that Reasons to Stay Alive was not particularly useful for me. When I was finished reading this I wanted to read a memoir of depression that didn’t end with the person happily married. Why is that the end? It doesn’t seem like it should really be the end, based on my recent experience listening to several married persons talking about how much they hate being around other people. I didn’t want to be insulting, but I did feel the urge to remind them that a quick way to get rid of all those people they know is to get divorced and move alone to a place they’ve never been. It’s entirely possible to get to a location where no one knows you and then you won’t have to worry about anyone asking how you are or being interested in your existence.

I have yet to find any books related to depression that don’t emphasize connection with other people as a “way out” and yet I’ve noticed that consistently finding connection in person is one of the things that is dwindling as technology addiction continues to manipulate peoples’ ability to communicate and muddles the line between the figurative desire for isolation (“Ugh, I hate being invited to do things.”/”Why isn’t anyone liking my latest instagram!?”) and what it really means. I’m glad that Matt Haig was able to maintain a meaningful connection throughout the episodes that he relates in Reasons to Stay Alive and that he found his reasons. And I know that in some cases, it doesn’t matter that someone has connections or support, they’re still not going to cope; but I still want to see the other side of that explored in print. I think that this era of technological disassociation and nutball governance requires new kinds of reasoning for hope. For the most part, mine’s finding the absurdity in small things. Mostly words and cavies.

 

Mortemer and Murderface in their dotage, napping. They are unable to like any of my posts to this very day.

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This time, it’s corporate intrigue.

4. Symbiont – Mira Grant

Problematically, in the second book of this trilogy, Sal does not magically become more interesting. Damn it. Grant also gives Sal a blank-as-hell brother character and a Harley Quinn-type that pops up to be confused, crazy, beloved by the other characters, and cause some trouble. I am honestly quite annoyed at how closely Tansy of the Parasitology trilogy, a fresh take on the zombie apocalypse… resembles Foxy of the Newsflesh trilogy, a fresh take on the zombie apocalypse. It just makes it seem like not enough time was taken in between writing these trilogies. Parasitology should not be Newsflesh take two, now with less incest and corporate instead of political intrigue. Barely anything happens in Symbiont, it feels like 499 pages of stalling when we could be on our way to a breakneck finish of someone helping Sal learn something while not driving too fast.

Grant’s books are very easy to read and involve some pop science and that’s how I will probably end up reading the last of the trilogy. I’ll be hoping for some of the characters to become realistic or fully fleshed out – three four hundred plus page books are enough space to flesh out characters, right? Right? This is probably another losing battle for me. Why do I expect fully fleshed out characters when I’m 1009 pages into a trilogy? WHY?

Murderface, displaying her level of plot-twist vigilance.

Murderface, displaying her level of plot-twist vigilance.

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Full disclosure: I have described some of the metal drumming I like as sounding like hooves, or horsies, or a herd of wild ponies running free across the plains…but never in a story, that would be embarrassing.

24. The Five – Robert McCammon

Writing about music is hard. It just is. It’s hard to describe, sometimes when you describe it using feelings you end up sounding like a tool, or just a bit too sentimental, or you’re Cameron Crowe and despite all pedigree and reputation you really do sound like a bit of a sentimental tool when your music-feels come out of your character’s mouths. I have been to many shows that had a clear overall communal feeling of some level of joy; I’ve also been to my share of “off” shows and more than a couple where I knew members of the band and I cringed about the banter (Stop talking! You’re too drunk and many of us would like to respect you again at some point! You only played two songs and the ten minutes feels like fifty! – I cannot say what show I was thinking and cringing this at. It’s still too hard going through the secondhand embarrassment and I really liked several members of the band. Oh dear Jeebus.)

Sometimes in The Five, Robert McCammon gets a little Cameron Crowe-y and I know it’s probably just me being all “I know some stuff about music and I have opinions and discerning tastes” and my main problem with such Crowe-yness is that it’s too broad. Not every musician, or musician character archetype, it going to worship the same stuff. We can’t all like the same things. Being too genre-specific is a total pit too, though, so, whatever, Roky Erikson-reference and then shove in a Buckethead fan… Anyway, what I’m getting at is that in titular band, there’s a dude who seems like a metal dude but says some phrases that I wouldn’t expect to come out of a metal dude’s mouth – and he’s wearing Chuck Taylors instead of boots, so he’s almost like a metal-indie hybrid, there’s a hippie chick, Peaches if she was an obstinate drummer, the throwback keyboard guy, and the rough and tumble bass player with a past – Murderface, he is not, although they are both imaginary bass players. It’s like several archetypes of musicians formed a band – and they get along. For me that seems like a total fantasy, but that’s okay because McCammon clearly loves what he’s talking about, to the point where he did mention too much gear, and it’s a road trip thriller. I do love some driving stories. Journey stories are a total thing for me; and I’ve never been on tour, just heard a lot about it. The lead singer of The Five totally reminds me of a friend of mine, so he was pretty easy to picture, especially all the anger-based comments. So, if you can look past a few of the cheesier descriptions of songage, and enjoy Robert McCammon’s weirdo version of reality where the supernatural edge of things creeps up on you, The Five is ridiculously enjoyable.

Finny's full name is Finntroll. Ozma is named after the princess and later queen from the Oz books and also the Melvins album. In this picture I'd call them The Two.

Finny’s full name is Finntroll. Ozma is named after the princess and later queen from the Oz books and also the Melvins album. In this picture I’d call them The Two. They were on tour underneath my coffee table.

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*69 would’ve helped

29. In the Middle of the Night – Robert Cormier

The scenario that drives the tension for the protagonist of this book is barely possible today. Sure, there are many people with land lines, also businesses, but if someone’s father made a terrible decision that cost the lives of many disadvantaged children, they’d just be haunted on the internet instead of via repetitive phone calls. A Google-haunting has a very different kind of tension than repeated phone calls to a landline in the middle of the night (Ha.). It’s a little harder to utilize online threats and harassment to drive a novel’s plot forward. I’ve read a few novels that used texts and snippets of online postings and for the most part I find that timely but sterile and I guess at some point it’s all going to seem dated anyway… Datedness aside, Robert Cormier is very good with dark topics and slowly revealing important details and this book is a good example of his talents. To be fair, a time when it was only possible to get a hold of someone when they were actually near a landline feels like a dark topic in and of itself to some- but I definitely miss it on occasion.

Don't even think about waking Murderface up from her nap with threatening phone calls - or anything else.

Don’t even think about waking Murderface up from her nap with threatening phone calls – or anything else.

Mixtape:

1. Christian Woman – Type O Negative
2. Under the Spell – Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats
3. Dirty Black Summer – Danzig
4. Crux – Electric Citizen
5. Need Some Air – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
6. Teen Age Riot – Sonic Youth
7. Wake Me Up – The Raveonettes
8. Lost Boys and Girls Club – Dum Dum Girls
9. Want Remover – Protomartyr
10. Charmer – Kings of Leon
11. Under My Chin – Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
12. Tension – Zebras
13. Evil! – Grinderman
14. Older No Wiser – Red Desert
15. Guilt – Those Poor Bastards
16. Motherfucker – Faith No More

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And yet, Leviathan is still my favorite Mastodon album

49. Fathom – Cherie Priest

I’ve been intrigued by Priest’s work since I saw the cover of Boneshaker while shelving in Mississippi. I’m not particularly interested in steampunk – I respect it and appreciate it but it’s not my thing-, so I haven’t read Boneshaker yet and ever since I found out that she’d also decided to write her take on the Lizzie Borden story (Maplecroft) I thought maybe that would be a better starting place for someone of my tastes, which generally lead towards murder faster than steampunk… Anyway, I couldn’t get into Maplecroft, so I had to find another starting point. Fathom is the one I found while at the Madison Public Library. I hadn’t heard or read anything about it and I had recently finished Kraken by China Mieville when I picked it up, so, I figured maybe another sea monstery story would be all right. Well, this was not actually a good starting point either. There is a murder toward the beginning, and yet I wasn’t entirely on board with the trajectory of the two cousins turned immortals helping opposite sides of a world ending scheme. I think Priest had a lot of intriguing ideas but they didn’t coalesce as much as they needed to in the final product. And I couldn’t find my ground in it and had no one to relate to or root for. I wish I could have, because I’m going to get through Maplecroft at some point and all I have right now is some suspicion that relating to Lizzie Borden over a girl-turned-statue trying to stop the world ending is not going to be good either. Maybe there will be someone else in Maplecroft to ground the story, it does have a little reality in its origin, whereas if Fathom has some, I’m currently unaware of where it came from. Perhaps the depths.

Murderface and Duncan know that guinea pigs' hierarchical issues would be cause enough for some immortal sea monster fights. It's a good thing they don't have access to the sea.

Murderface and Duncan know that guinea pigs’ hierarchical issues would be cause enough for some immortal sea monster fights. It’s a good thing they don’t have access to the sea.

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This one time, I got to my anthropology class before the previous class was done and got to see a slide of a very burnt body that reminded me of Pillsbury crescent rolls when you pop the packaging.

10. Spirit – Graham Masterton

Oh, Graham. Jeebus. I am a big fan of the Snow Queen fairytale, especially Kelly Link’s version “Travels with the Snow Queen” from Stranger Things Happen (no one will ever regret reading this short story collection, so, I unabashedly recommend it); and this was the second Graham “master of the vulgar description that gets stuck in your head and makes you basically forget most of the plot” Masterton book I’ve read, so I feel like I was prepared when I read this, but I was quite taken aback by the olive oil scene. Totally prepared for the frostbitten to a crisp man scene [insert Pillsbury Doughboy giggle], not the olive oil. Why was that even in there? Anyway, it was an interesting take on the Snow Queen, and the perils of regret and losing a child, and ghosts, and girls named Peggy and a primer on things that should not happen with cooking oils… Hard frown.

“They did what with olive oil?” Belvedere, perpetually too young to read Graham Masterton books. I wouldn’t even let his mother Murderface read a Graham Masterton book and she was a very advanced pig.

“They did what with olive oil?” Belvedere, perpetually too young to read Graham Masterton books. I wouldn’t even let his mother Murderface read a Graham Masterton book and she was a very advanced pig.

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Start with a Queen, End with all the Queens

Thus ends the specified “Year of the Ladies.” Although next year starts tomorrow, I’m not clear on whether or not I want to have a theme.

The main thing I know about next year is that I have a lot of art to finish before April.  Another thing I know is that I am both petrified and anxiously awaiting the edited version of the final book in my Squirrelpocalypse trilogy – Night of the Squirrels. I will then revisit it, stare at it wondering what I was thinking, re-write some chunks, probably cry about said chunk re-writing, ask the guinea pigs if they have any ideas about why it turned out so differently than what I planned for the story in 1998 and not get ANY useful answers, and then accept it and rearrange all the semicolons before I format it and put it up with the other two. I finished it this year, on December 5th at 11:53 PM, and immediately wasn’t sure if I liked it. That probably means it’s all right because every single time I finish a book – and I’ve finished two this year, personal best, probably never to be repeated – I’m not sure if I like it. So, I await my cognitive distance and since I like to end with pictures, here are all the sweet little lady pigs that I’ve owned since 2008. Snippiest, most gratuitously disagreeable bunch of cavies ever to exist and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Murderface and Pickles in Hattiesburg

Miss Murderface and Pickles the Drummer (yes, that Pickles, and her full name is the entire line from the opening credits – that’s a behind the scenes secret you couldn’t get from very many sources).

Sepia toned teddy bear ladies Twiglet and Pammy. So fuzzy. So domineering. But so fuzzy and so good at napping.

Sepia toned teddy bear ladies Twiglet and Pammy. So fuzzy. So domineering. But so fuzzy and so good at napping.

Murderface and the lovely Duncan Hills. I only got to have Duncan for eleven months, but she had the softest ears and the sassiest disposition. She also helped me quite a bit with the planning of Day of the Robots.

Murderface and the lovely Duncan Hills. I only got to have Duncan for eleven months, but she had the softest ears and the sassiest disposition. She also helped me quite a bit with the planning of Day of the Robots.

Merricat and Peregrine, my first non-Mississippi or Iowa born lady pigs. Merricat was frighteningly special and my first lady Abyssinian. She was very small in size, but had a very large bite.

Merricat and Peregrine, my first non-Mississippi or Iowa born lady pigs. Merricat was frighteningly special and my first lady Abyssinian. She was very small in size, but had a very large bite.

Peregrine and Ozma having a mild moment. Peregrine has not been the most friendly of new friends to Ozma, but Ozma's willingness to explore is slowly, very slowly seeping in to Pere.

Peregrine and Ozma having a mild moment. Peregrine has not been the most friendly of new friends to Ozma, but Ozma’s willingness to explore is slowly, very slowly seeping in to Pere.

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I suggest: Thorin: Glamour Shots as an alternate title for The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

30. Deathless – Catherynne M. Valente

This was my kind of romance. The torturous, horrible kind where you inevitably end up at the siege of Leningrad eating wallpaper paste because you’re starving to death – emotionally. In the case of this novel-length fairy tale, the wallpaper paste eating was literal and I did feel strangely about how the situation was resolved. Very strangely. Anyway, Valente is a major creator of pretty sentences, which typically I do not like. However, in this case I didn’t notice them as much. Maybe it was the fairy tale cadence, maybe I was just really excited about the tiny proletariat organizing, maybe it was because I pictured Koschei the Deathless as Luke Evans (thankfully with different hair than he received as Bard, damnit, Peter Jackson, let someone have decent hair without CGI besides Thorin), and maybe it was because it was so damn dark…and I am really used to being put through the ringer in any and all relationships (which is not good and I’m working on it, and, don’t ever tell me not to speak, I don’t follow orders like that so I would not have done well in so many places in this story). I do not understand why anyone would like Ivan though. I mean, really, Ivan? He was like a paper cut out of a person, like those standees of Robert Pattinson that Twilight fans have been known to take with them to film screenings, likeable because he doesn’t say anything. I guess I should be searching for the right standee…for me. But I really don’t want to.

Murderface turns away from the pretty sentences. She was a “no bullshit” kind of pig; unfortunately not a “deathless” kind of pig.

Murderface turns away from the pretty sentences. She was a “no bullshit” kind of pig; unfortunately, not a “deathless” kind of pig.

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Did you know that “Fun Size” is smaller now? It is way closer to bite size. Not fun.

59. Undead Much? – Stacey Jay

Undead Much? was a cute piece of teen rom-zom-com fluff when I read it and I bet it hasn’t changed. It’s the sequel to You Are So Undead to Me, another cute piece of teen rom-zom-com fluff revolving around Megan Berry, zombie settler – and I don’t mean pioneer-style settling. The most interesting aspect of it for me was that there is actually a dead guy involved in the romantic triangle. Well, mostly dead.

 

Pickles Pickles Pickles! She looks so incredibly cute on the pumpkin that Murderface is trying to leave the photo.

Pickles Pickles Pickles! She looks so incredibly cute on the pumpkin that Murderface is trying to leave the photo.

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I’m just going to pretend he’s playing that saxophone for Daryl Dixon.

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.

Murderface and Pickles demonstrate the ways to respond to an impromptu sax solo – hiding… or surprise.

Mixtape –
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

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