Friday, January 09, 2009

Ephemera 2009 (2)

-- Mike Nelson is too modest to pimp here, but issue #1 of HEXED came out this week (hey, free first issue is a FREE DOWNLOAD!! SMART!!). It's very, very good. I call it "Juno meets Hellblazer". I don't know what Mike calls it. Great artist, too.

-- From Warren Ellis: Polar Nuclear Lighthouses. I repeat. Nuclear. Lighthouses.

-- Mysterious Skin / Brick / The Lookout, that's a hell of a run. Skin is a hard, hard movie but for a weekend rental you can't go wrong with either Brick or Lookout. The Lookout is actually the best of the lot, really a hell of a movie, and streaming off Netflix. You could pump it through your XBOX360 and have it up on the big screen in five seconds. Oh, wait, Brick is available on Amazon VOD, too. Cool.

-- Charlie Stross' Jennifer Morgue is finally out in paperback, meaning you can now do the one-two punch with Atrocity Archive. I will admit that although I like both books, I actually prefer "The Concrete Jungle" novella in Atrocity Archive. You can read both on your Kindle ...

-- ... which, having had for nearly a year now, I will say is well worth the money if you buy as many books as I do. Like most people I have a deep aversion to throwing away books, and finding trading situations can be tricky (although Mrs. Glenn likes The Paperback Exchange EDIT: she actually recommends The Paperback Swap.).

The Kindle provides several benefits. First, I keep my big clunky non-fiction off the much smaller bookshelves of my tiny LA bungalow house. I read more, because I have that 3 pound, 1000+ page Colony to Superpower tucked into the outside sleeve of my briefcase so I can pick it up at lunch anywhere I go. It handles magazine subscriptions well -- I picked up subscriptions to Asimov and Amazing, which I'd never do with the dead tree version. Better for the environment, too.

The Kindle editions are discounted enough that I've managed, particularly on the hardcover purchases, to earn back in savings what the Kindle cost. It takes about three days to get used to -- during which you wonder what chimp engineer designed it so every surface a normal human would use to hold the device is actually a button -- but after that you can't live without it. I now actually delay some book purchases because they don't have a Kindle edition yet.

-- speaking of books, the First Law trilogy: ** SPOILER**I love, love, love Joe Abercrombie's writing style and storytelling. His female characters aren't great, but hey, first book. I urge you to read the trilogy. I'd read his shopping list. However, I don't know if I needed to spend 3000+ pages to suddenly discover that the entire work was a buildup to: "What if Gandalf was a dick?" (highlight to read).

-- New link going into the sidebar: Frontal Cortex, neuroscience fun by Jonah Leherer. Prepare to lose a day plowing through the archives.

-- Keep a pipe bomb on you at all times, you can use it to shift that genny out of the elevator door. Although I've noticed the practice is waning. Oh, and on the roof of Mercy Hospital, Smokers should ambush ladder-climbers from the LOWER rooftop, closer to the edge. You're still in range.

-- I recently in a meeting said "As useless as a Hunter on the roof of Mercy Hospital." Sadly, I do not think it's going to catch on.

-- In the Comments, please post your senior prom theme song. Which, for the life of me, I personally cannot remember ...


Matt said...

I don't think we had a theme song per se. I remember being tremendously unhappy that the slow song at the end of the night was Aerosmith's "Don't Want To Miss A Thing."

Troylis said...

Hmmmm - I think it was Alphaville's Forever Young. Or maybe I dreamed that part. Of course, none of our classmates went for our suggestion of School's Out.

kinesys said...

I can't remember either. It's been a long time ago.

But i wished it had been "Prom Theme" by Fountains of Wayne.

Elizabeth said...

i graduated in 2000, and yet our prom theme was the bangles "eternal flame".

Rebecca said...

Re: swapping books

Do you know of BookMooch?

I do not remember a single thing about my prom except what my date and I were wearing and that's only because we took a picture. And it's not because of drink or drugs, either. It was just that totally unmemorable.

Oh, wait, flashback to a parked car afterward, but it was a double date and nothing very memorable happened there either. Of course nothing very memorable happened in that entire school district the whole time I lived there, which is why I moved away the day after graduation.

Keith said...

"These are Days", 10,000 Maniacs.

Brick is pretty awesome. Hard boiled High school. Man, what an idea.

And while watching it, keep in mind that your hero, Brendan, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, will be playing Cobra Commander in the GI Joe Movie.

Mark Waid said...

"Stairway to Heaven." Which, (a) remembering my expectations, was a TOTAL MISREPRESENTATION of the evening, and (b) fun fact: is musically interchangeable with both "Amazing Grace" and the theme to "Gilligan's Island," neither of which would have been a prom theme improvement.

Kimm said...

For better or worse, I do not have to worry about remembering my prom theme/song - I didn't go.

hollywoodjane said...

"A Moment Like This" by Kelly Clarkson. Oh, American Idol fever. Best part was that prom was held at the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum so, you know, it really went together.

Dave said...

netflix has been trying to convince me to VOD lookout. With this extra push, I'll do it.

I kinda feel bad that netflix is actually sending me physical movies. I just want everything to be downloadable to my Tivo.

GinaFan said...

I'm just getting caught up with this blog, so pardon my delay.

Thanks for the Gina Pic on Tuesday. Just what the doctor ordered. Face shot, large size, and smilin'. Virtually life size for goodness sake. Wonderfull. Breath taking.

As for Gina naked, I don't know you if you need to go there. Sexed up in boots sounds good though. Coupling and Silent trigger had nude scenes, but somehow they weren't that sexy. It was just thrown on the screen and expected to blow you away, and it came off flat, imho.

I did pay attention though. In Coupling, it looked like Gina had a very faint dent, what I can only imagine as a bite taken out of her left but cheek. I have imagined this many times. Some sort of ancient wound from childhood, or motorcycle riding? In a subsequent episode there was a black and white ink drawing stylized poster on the wall of her apartment of Gina in the nude pose, and there were a pair of red lips appearing right where the dent would have been. That made me think that I was not imagining it.

I assume, as a tactful wordsmith you might be able to bring this up in charming conversation, and find out if it exists and its, ahem, backstory.

caseyko74 said...

I try to forget high school and the scars the Jesuits gave me.

Joshua James said...

Loved Brick and especially loved THE LOOKOUT, great film ...

Prom? LOVE ME TOMORROW by Chicago.

I know. I know. Even worse, I have the Best of Chicago on Itunes and saw them in concert in college.

Hey, what can I say? They rock those bad brass instruments.

berg said...

Thank you, boss, for introducing me to my new crush. Jonah Lehrer is adorable... and kind of a genius.

I still maintain that Mysterious Skin was a better flick than Brick, though both were outstanding. Will get to The Lookout right after I finish Survivors.

"End of the Road" as sung by Boyz II Men, the biggest pop act in the world in the mid-90's. But a song about breaking up for your prom theme? Maybe not the best idea.

theothermelissa said...

Thanks for the shout out, but it's Paperback Swap that I love, though Paperback Exchange looks like a great little shop.

Paperback Swap is very similar to Book Mooch. But there are quite a few things I like better about PBS. My absolute favorite part is that when people request one of my books I don't have to go to the post office to mail it. I can print a label from my computer and away it goes (it calculates the weight of the book based on the ISBN number. In fact when you're posting books all you need is the ISBN number, you don't have to type in tons of info to post your books.)

And for the record I see a kindle in my future. Since I've waited this long I figure I might as well wait until they turn out a 2.0 hopefully with a few tweaks and fewer $'s.

Bram said...

Ugh, some Bon Jovi song, seemingly custom-made for prom that I can't remember.

I do recall, however, counting that Beastie Boys' "Brass Monkey" got played more than the theme that evening.

Anonymous said...

Not a damn thing to do with the Ephemera post - but it's Rogers' fault I'm addicted to Planet Money over at NPR after he posted the link to This American Life's stories on the economic meltdown. So, the Weblog awards are collecting votes for best Podcast of the year And the Planet Money guys want to beat the Harry Podcast Mugglecast. Check out a podcast or to and if you feel so inspired, cast your vote.

caseyko74 said...

So, for Nelson, Hexed and Dingo: same universe? Thought Hexed one was very good. Kept waiting to see a large dog or a ferret at least.

marc bernardin said...

Prom Song: Danny Elfman's Batman theme. (I skipped my prom to hit the first midnight showing of Batman. Fuck prom.)

David Hunt said...

Hmmm. I didn't go to my high school prom but I did have an interesting musical experience that day. Instead of going to prom, I went with my high school choir on a trip to San Antonio. On of the places we went to was some old abbey (no longer in use as such) that you could tour. We broke up in groups and kept singing every piece of Latin music that we had with us. The sound in that place was amazing. So I guess my prom theme was Ave Maria.

Michael Alan Nelson said...

caseyko74 said...

"So, for Nelson, Hexed and Dingo: same universe?"

As a matter of fact, yes. Though I'm afraid there aren't any ferrets or abnormally large dogs in this arc of Hexed. Sorry (I have to keep it PG-13 and the ferret would make that a bit difficult).

Someday I'd like to do a little Hexed/Dingo crossover. Wishful thinking, but you never know.

Ardaniel Collier said...

I think we had a Prom Song and a Senior Song, for some bizarre reason, because I'm recalling both "This Is The Time" by Billy Joel and "December 1963 (Oh! What a Night)" by the Four Seasons.

I also remember that we arbitrarily renamed one of our company "Dave," because we had something like four Chrises in one older-sister's-minivan and it was getting difficult to keep track.

(My husband says his senior prom song, five years prior and many states away, was "This Is The Time." Weird.)

Also, yay, I can finally get a matched set of Laundryverse books.

Richard said...

I can't remember my prom theme, but I'll agree with you on BRICK and THE LOOKOUT (although I like BRICK better). Whod've thunk that the kid from 3RD ROCK would turn out to be so good?

John said...

I didn't know of The Lookout. Guess that's one more thing to add to the instant Netflix queue on the 360...

(Which, by the by, would be even more awesome if they had better HD selections.)

I must add to the kudos Brick has received. Frankly, I thought I was the only person anywhere who saw it. God it's good.

Finally, not for nothing, Rogers, but it is uncool of you to tell us how great a Kindle is when we cannot get one...

Simon Underwood said...

What counts as senior prom in the UK? Because we had one of the end of our fifth year (when I was 16) and at the end of both my years in 6th form - we tend to OD on proms here, but for balance, we don't tend to go batshit insane over them and act like it's the most important night of our entire being.

I'll go with my last prom in summer 98, when I danced with a beautiful German exchange student (whose name I cannot remember, damn it!) to the Leanne Rimes' version of "How Do I Live" which of course earns bonus points for orginally being written for Con Air.

Mike Cane said...

OMG! You mentioned the K word. Even worse: You OWN one!! You leftoid fascist monopoly-assisting swine!

There is, of course, only ONE eBook reader worth buying.

Now I might have to look at my Parker lust in a different light.


Bryan-Mitchell said...

Use a pipe bomb to move the generator away from the elevator? I guess that means you are playing Left 4 Dead on the XBox360? Wow. How sad. I used to respect you, man! ;-)

nocturnation said...

"save the best for last" by vanessa williams.

don't ask why i know this. i'm off to scrub my brain.

wcdixon said...

I believe it was 'The Rose' - Bette Midler

LBB said...

Our prom theme was Billy Joel's This Is The Time, which I voted for because it was hopelessly outmatched by the pop flavor of the moment, and it wound up winning.

The next year, my college had a freshman dance which was themed with Oh, What A Night. I didn't attend, but had a lot of fun speculating about how you'd decorate for such an occasion.

Rogers said...

Good, God, Lovely Wife remembered it was Bryan Adams' Heaven, And she wasn't even THERE.

Mike: OMG! You mentioned the K word. Even worse: You OWN one!! You leftoid fascist monopoly-assisting swine!

There is, of course, only ONE eBook reader worth buying.

I had the Sony Reader, and I loved it, but the DRM and bookstore software were crap. Crappity crap crap, of the same quality as all Sony's weird DRM attempts.

The Amazon store appears on the Kindle screen, you buy, and the device downloads the file, all without ever hooking the damn thing up to a computer. It's just more organic in function, despite the Sony's sexy, sexy design

Bryan: Use a pipe bomb to move the generator away from the elevator? I guess that means you are playing Left 4 Dead on the XBox360? Wow. How sad. I used to respect you, man! ;-)

I do not even want to begin to address my deep ambivalence about my gaming shifting off the PC to the XBXO. It began as a nexessity - I was using a laptop as my haome computer -- and now I jus thave to admit, the XBOX upgrades are dead sexy.

adc1966 said...

Our prom theme was "All Night Long" by Lionel Richie. We actually voted for "Jump" by Van Halen, but the administration vetoed it because they said it was about suicide.

Michael Bourgon said...

Well, this certainly explains why I like Leverage. Doctor Who, Jennifer Morgue, Doc Savage, "Brick", Mission Impossible.... Nice to know I'm not the only one with all these disparate likes.

Anyhow, thanks for an awesome show. Loving it so far.

Probably too late to suggest (or assume it matters), but could you make the fight scenes show "less" instead of more with Eliot? I loved the idea in the pilot where it just shows the effects of him being a badass (except for the last fight), rather than him _being_ a badass. (That being said, I rather liked "what smells like crank and screams like a girl") Just a nitpick.

Anyhow, now you just need something like The Innsmouth Job. :D Please keep up the awesome work.

Pam said...

Prom theme song? I don't recall that, but what I do recall, sadly, is my tomboyish self in a ridiculous purple dress with a HOOP skirt that, when my tomboyish self sat down, flipped up and gave the entirety of the room a lovely view of my scanties. Can you tell I and dresses have made only a passing acquaintance?

ArtSparker said...

I have thought about (and recommended) that sequence of Joseph Gordon-Leavitt films - wonderful, they are all stories about a character who has to acknowledge something that his been pushed away from consciousness.

Maytagman said...

Yah, The Lookout surprised me no end. Thanks for the other tidbits, will have to get on that.

I don't believe my prom had a theme song per se though it was held at a western themed steakhouse/reception hall/tourist trap and the final slow dance of the night was Ginuwine's immortal (immoral?) rump-pumper "Pony"

For those unfamiliar with this song a brief sample of the lyrics:
"Sitting here flossing
Peeping your steelo
Just once if I have the chance
The things I will do to you
You and your body
Every single portion
Send chills up and down your spine
Juices flowing down your thigh"

The chaperones faces where somewhere between "mortified" and "openly giggling" For some reason we had an inordinately high pregnancy rate in our graduating class. Way to go THS!

caseyko74 said...

Nelson, thanks. Going to have to go through and read Dingo again for some fun quotes - like the one about handcuffs and Elizabethan poetry.

Matt said...

@Maytagman: Re: "Pony": I've just been introduced to this song via a new cover that's getting played on local FM rock stations; see Good times.

Kai said...

Probably too late to suggest (or assume it matters), but could you make the fight scenes show "less" instead of more with Eliot? I loved the idea in the pilot where it just shows the effects of him being a badass (except for the last fight), rather than him _being_ a badass. (That being said, I rather liked "what smells like crank and screams like a girl") Just a nitpick.

So, wait, you want them to remove a visually engaging aspect of the show? I have to admit, that seems a bit strange. Sure, you don't need a big, fancy fight scene every episode but, y'know, he's the fighty guy. Yeah, he can do other stuff, but his "thing" is being fighty. It seems like it would be a questionable decision to have a fighty guy and not show him fighting.

Kevin said...

I too grew up on a steady diet of Doc Savage, and was lucky enough to have a radio station that played the old Green Hornet and Shadow radio shows. Pulp is nourishing stuff.

As for the prom theme, in '84 it was the Police's "Walking on the Moon." Despite my prom being a hilarious train wreck, I was apparently the only person to remember this at reunion. Surprising, since it was much less painful than other options.

I clearly remember "Knights in White Satin" playing at the dance.

- PCat

Sus said...

1994, "Stairway to Heaven."

Yes, you read that right.

I must also add my love for the disparate influences that made up your upbringing.

gil mann said...

You Look Wonderful Tonight.

I didn't.

Sundog said...

1987. Yup. Way way back. The Alarm - "Walk Forever By My Side".

Cunningham said...

"Stairway to Heaven". Like Mark, I think the song promises much and delivers naught... at least that night.

And of course this was 1981, in SC no less, when MTV was just a tickle in Viacom's pleated khakis.

Gray said...

Conan just knocked Tim's head off with a baseball bat in the Leverage promo bug. It was amusing.

Thomas said...


In your comments about Survivors, you mentioned closed season storytelling. I thought it meant something along the lines of an overall story being played out over a season so when the season ends, there's a nice, satisfying end to the story. Which worked until I got to the end of the season, where there's not. So what does "closed season storytelling" mean?

Rogers said...

It does mean that. I didn't LIKE the ending of SURVIVORS.

Bates said...

It was "Love Theme From St Elmo's Fire." Yeah. Hi, I'm old.

And I'm with you all the way on Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Actually purchased Brick and The Lookout, even. (Very fickle on buying DVDs; few that I'd want to see often enough to buy 'em.)

GregM said...


MY novel deals with a hapless protagonist in an office trying to stop Cthulhu from being summoned.

Damn you, Stross, damn YOUUUU!!!

Bates said...

@ GregM: Not to discount his stuff, which is great, but Stross isn't the first to go that route. Spencer's Resume With Monsters tackled that concept brilliantly a decade earlier.

Michael Bourgon said...

Kai: while I enjoy the fights, I think they've been overused. Note Walker, Martial Law, Buffy, etc. (Yes, I realize I'm only listing old shows) I don't object to the fighting or showing it, I just think it ought to be shown differently. In the pilot, for instance, in the bar - they manage to use a decent amount of screen time on it, but you don't actually see how he beats 20 people with guns - which is how it should be. No matter how cool the fight is, odds are the fight I conjured in my head is better.

Cut the fights differently - don't show the "punch/kick/punch/kick", show the effects. Show pieces here and there - the effect of the guy getting slammed in the door, a guy obviously showing the effects of leg sweep, the guy flying through the air. While I will admit the fight with the meth-heads was fun, it's been done before. (Not that that's a bad thing - almost everything has been done before, after all.) The challenge is to not just dress it up differently, but not to just make it the obligatory-martial-arts-fight-scene. I love the character. I love him being able to take out multiple people simultaneously. I want to see more with him. But I don't just want the obligatory-martial-arts-fight-scene.

And now back to prom stuff.
ObProm: I didn't go to mine. Too much of a nerd at the time.

Stellar Drift said...

On the previous post you ended by saying

"Hell, I'm closing the Comments on this post, "

Couldn't you start by staying that, so I know not to read it? ;)

Stellar Drift said...

Oh and I don't have senior prom theme song (never went to a prom).

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