Tag Archives: New Orleans

What will my skeleton key candle unlock?

41. Summer of Fear – Lois Duncan

This book features a main character with the same name as me, which is, of course, vastly important. And this other me is totally manipulated by this girl named Julia, who is a total witch. No, really. She moves in with her extended family (Rachel’s family) after some sort of “accident” happens to her parents, totally steals Rachel’s boyfriend and her family’s affections and attention, and does it all with her haunted eyes and apparently some herbal mixture. Thou shalt not commit crimes against Rachels. Not cool, fictional character Julia. Full disclosure, the first time I thought of saying “thou shalt not commit crimes against Rachels” was at a Kills show in New Orleans. This guy behind me was talking to a girl about how he and Rachel were “like, really close” and they were dating, but, then they decided (right) to have an “open relationship” and guy ended up making out with this girl Adrienne, like so much so that people at the bar asked them to stop (probably not for the reasons he assumed based on his tone) and he’s “like, feeling really guilty about it” and didn’t want to tell Rachel – and there’s another girl now that he’s interested in, plus there was the one he was fucking talking to right behind me…he was trying to seem so very desirable – so many ladies want a piece of him! – I was about thirty seconds away from turning around and telling him that his sentence for committing such crimes against a Rachel was to own up and tell Rachel that he wasn’t interested in seriously dating her, he just wanted to continue to feel desirable and be an asshole about it so his life seemed dramatic. Boys. Seriously.

Mixtape 8:

1. Blodsvept – Finntroll

2. Wild Witch – Restavrant

3. Speaking in Tongues – Eagles of Death Metal

4. Under the Spell – Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats

5. You Don’t Look So Good – The Urges

6. Nomad – Orchid

7. Night City – The Sword

8. Adrenochrome – The Sisters of Mercy

9. Black Nails – Pictureplane

10. Spectrum – Florence & the Machine

11. Dirtywhirl – T.V. on the Radio

12. I Might Be Wrong – Radiohead

13. Twisted Light – The Black Angels

14. Teenage Disease – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

15. Creeping Death (cover) – Apocalyptica

I am totally serious about no one committing crimes against Rachels. I’m over that shit.

New little ladies Merricat and Peregrine. They’re new and very young and they are beginning to build their legend without the help of witchcraft.


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I wish American Horror Story: Coven and Top Chef would quit making me miss New Orleans so much.

69. Twilight – William Gay

I picked this up at a thrift store on Magazine Street that no longer exists as far as I can tell and used to have a silver rocking horse hanging above it. I’ve never really been sure what it was called. Mr. Cheese and I had a lot of fun there, they had a new stuffed Gizmo in a bird cage and this lovely calendar from a Chinese restaurant with especially lovely rabbits on it…it’s also the place I bought Mr. Cheese his second sugar urn, i.e. a sugar bowl that, for the un-tea-cultured poors like me, looks more like an urn than it does a sugar bowl. He found his first one in Iowa.

Anyway, I bought this book because the description made it sound like it was going to be a southern gothic version of Phantasm. There’s a funeral director doing questionable things with the bodies and a young man who must stop him. Well, it’s not like Phantasm. For one thing, there’s no Reggie character. And it not being like Phantasm has sort of clouded my judgment. You see the sentences, they are pretty. I am rarely in the mood for pretty sentences, if ever, so I can appreciate this for what it is – a well written story about a young man who has gone into the local wilderness trying to get to a sheriff before he gets killed by the local psychopath (who was hired by the funeral director). There’s some poetically written nature, some Odyssey-like characters, and some mysteriousness that reminded me a bit of The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale but not as nasty- but it just wasn’t working for me as a reader. Especially when the actions that started the story were resolved in two sentences, at the very end, and the sentences came from a character who was supposedly important throughout the book but didn’t end up doing anything but resolving the starting action. It’s a journey story and usually I really like those, but I just wasn’t able to get into this one once I realized it wasn’t quite what I thought it was going to be.


“No Tall Man? No ice cream truck? Why even bother writing a creepy funeral director character if he’s not pursued by a team of misfits and the resolution to his story basically occurs off-page?” Pickles has my back, because I put words in her mouth, but still, she would have my back.

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Have a Woodland Critter Christmas!

Since it’s the holidays and I’m about to undergo some serious changes at my current employment cave, I’ll be taking a break from writing reviews until January (unless I die unexpectedly or the world ends, but since I’ve mentioned both now neither will happen… ). There is something I would like to discuss, however, and that is search terms. I guess this is my version of breaking a narrative wall because there’s probably someone who wasn’t aware that WordPress totally keeps track of search terms that lead people (or robots) to blogs. I’ve become very fond of some of the ones that lead “people” to me and very afraid of what the searchers were really looking for. Here they are, with reaction shots:
1. The most frequent phrase: your eyes are like space crystals aka your eyes look like space crystals
It goes here: Sleepwalk With Me

Listen to me as I play this song/Cause I’m gonna play it regardless/I’m only playing three chords/So I can make eye contact

Thanks, Mike Birbiglia! I did enjoy your memoir and “Guitar Guy at the Party,” the place where I first heard that phrase. Belvedere’s eyes are way better than space crystals though.

2. Very puzzling edition: build a bear monkey names

I have no idea how that one led to me, but I am not unaware of the value of my naming abilities. But most likely it’s just because of this Jim Knipfel book: These Children Who Come at You With Knives

His name came from a badly translated paper about the movie Inception, it was the best thing I found in that paper.

Call me when they have Build-a-Pig. And not that kind of pig. – Danger Crumples

3.  No, really, what? terms: adult book store New Orleans

I’ve written several reviews of books set in New Orleans [ Pigeons from Hell , A Confederacy of Dunces , Ruined ] because I used to live about an hour and a half away and was a very frequent visitor. It is my official favorite place to go see traveling musical shows and drink on the street. But I haven’t written anything about that kind of book store…hmm.

I got carded going in to Second Skin, but that’s not really a bookstore. Me and Mr. Cheese were looking for the kind of masks that come with zippers, just to see if they were available for impromptu Pulp Fiction jokes. And they weren’t.

Duncan looks away. Away from her tired mistress who was probably at One Eyed Jack’s and Buffa’s the night before.

4. Right on terms: V.C. Andrews adjectives

I’ve only read Flowers in the Attic and that was an achievement unto itself so I feel comfortable saying that V.C. Andrews (and probably Andrew Neiderman, brand caretaker, too) loves adjectives. She adores them with the white hot fury of thousands of brilliantly shiny burning suns.

Andrew Neiderman also wrote Pin. I wonder if it’s minimalist.

She may have loved adjectives more than writing about blonde incestuous people. But the world and darling Murderface may never know.

5. Confusing spelling edition : sordkin day of oprichnir

I’ll admit, Oprichnik is a little on the hard to spell side. Two vowels, fun pronunciation, lots of people aren’t used to reading translations from Russian, it’s not that bad. It was still strange to read in my list of search terms.

In dystopian Russia, they have no memes.

Wait till they read it. – Mortemer endured my befuddled looks while I read Day of the Oprichnik

6. Ha ha, they might not mean Spaced terms: spunk beans

Simon Pegg’s book Nerd Do Well

There’s this cook book they might want to try. I heard about it on the internet and decided it was gross, but it’s available somewhere. And someone tested those recipes. On purpose.

Jar Jar Binks makes the Ewoks look like fuckin’ Shaft!

Seriously, it’s beans and spunk. Listen to Bill Bailey and pay attention with your childlike ears. – Pickles, not having it. Bel better know his Spaced quotes.

There will be two more parts to this saga of search terms. Reading it will feel like opening an incompetently constructed advent calendar.

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The cemetery is just a few blocks from the ice cream store!

30. Ruined – Paula Morris

I definitely count Ruined as one of my favorite young adult books. It’s a New Orleans ghost story that provides some history and very helpful information about what the deal with the Krewes is instead of well-worn New Orleans tropes. Morris did not rely on the enchanting nature of the city or some of its people to propel her story and does not talk down to her audience or expect them to just go along with anything due to the inherent enchantment possibilities. Like I’ve said before, I love New Orleans, but it has some very, very well-worn tropes about how magical it is and a city cannot get by on those alone; especially not when some of the coolest places in the city have disappeared, been replaced by a suit store, and then there’s the card reader who constantly checks his phone – he is not projecting an air of mystery, my future cannot be found on the internet. And sometimes it seems like people under the influence of those tropes decide they don’t have to pay attention to traffic signals because they are going to Café Du Monde. Um, there’s a walk signal. Look for it. It’s where it is everywhere else in the US and yes, you do have to pay attention to it because I will not feel bad about running you over on my way to the street I park on. I don’t care if you’re different there.

Anyway, Ruined also helped me out with my goal of wandering through one of the cemeteries (the walking tours don’t usually comply with my schedule or goals while I’m there) in a manageable fashion. The Lafayette Cemetery No. 1    is right next to Commander’s Palace (a restaurant I will probably never eat at for a variety of reasons like poorness and an abhorrence of seafood) and the Garden District Book Shop. I’m really surprised that I didn’t notice the walled cemetery across the street the first time I went to New Orleans as a kid looking for signed Anne Rice novels. It’s a fine example of cemetery architecture and has a nice tomb for destitute orphan boys where people have offered action figures and I think that’s nice.

Duncan, as a ghost, does not have to obey traffic signals. She’s different everywhere.


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Sweet shadow corn for the sweet

56. Pigeons from Hell – Joe R. Lansdale, Nathan Fox, & Dave Stewart

Apparently Robert E. Howard wrote some non-Conan stories and this is one of them, as adapted into a graphic novel with a new ending and some twists and turns by master of Hap and Leonard Joe R. Lansdale with inkster Nathan Fox and colorist Dave Stewart.

It’s one of those tales where there’s an abandoned New Orleans mansion and the theoretically long-lost heirs to the people that owned it and dissolved under their own mythology return to find it in ruins and possibly now taken up by the occasional startling feral cat, an angry homeless person or two – possibly a gang – and, especially in this case, the super-scary fluttering birdies. Then the heir-apparents have to navigate a curse in order to claim what is theirs or die under the weight of it. Just like in Candyman II: Farewell to the Flesh, one of my all-time favorite sequels. This time, instead of antiques dealers and Tony Todd being all cool and murdering people who were ashamed of their family lineage, there are pigeons, flesh ripping (well, I guess that’s kind of the same, but no bees), a trek through the swamp to the owner of a bottletree to learn the real story of why their house is killing hippies. And there’s corn! It’s not very nice corn, but it’s corn.

Ozymandias does not wish to hear about any long-lost inheritances. Leave that to the Mississippi pigs, he’s an Illinois boy all the way.

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