June 24, 2010

Alphabet Juice ***

*** Alphabet Juice: The Energies, Gists, and Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof; Their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pips, and Secret Parts, ... With Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory, Roy Blount, Jr, 2008

Over a year ago I got a chance to chat with Roy Blount, Jr at a Writer's League fund raiser, where I bought this book and had it signed. The next day I ran into him at the airport and we chatted some more. He was headed to FL on an annual fishing trip he's been doing for several decades and I was headed to a film festival/conference. And I noticed he was wearing olive-green Crocs, a detail I found very amusing.

So, I've been working through this book (364 pages) during the ensuing year. It's particularly suited as a bathroom read due to the dictionary-like nature of the contents. It was in the downstairs bathroom and I only read two pages per session, which explains why it took me a year to finish it.

It was a very enjoyable read. Lots of interesting tidbits and quotable stuffs in there. I highly recommend it.

June 17, 2010

Velocity **

*** Velocity, Dean Koontz, 2005

I was headed to Port A and Mustang Island for a well-deserved break and picked up The Outlook instead of Echo Park, a mistake I didn't discover until I was slathered in 50 SPF sunscreen, kicked back on a lounge chair under a canopy on the beach, watching the gulls dodge waves and seaweed while fighting for the crabs in the sand.

So I trekked back up to the condo and dug through the cabinets and found two likely candidates for my beach read, Walking in Circles Before Lying Down by Merrill Markoe and Velocity by Dean Koontz. I gave Markoe a shot, first, but after three chapters in I still didn't care what happened to anybody, so I switched over to Koontz.

The first chapter was very engaging and funny, something I didn't expect. I've read one other Koontz novel back in the 80s, The Watchers, which was far from amusing. Knowing the premise of Velocity, I was surprised at the humor. I was curious to see how he would sustain humor as seeming random people were murdered based on the decisions/actions of Billy the bartender. The answer was, it wasn't sustained. The first chapter was the only funny one.

But it was still an entertaining beach read with an interesting moral dilemma. Billy finds a finds a note on his windshield telling him that he has a choice: go to the police and a lovely blonde schoolteacher dies. Do nothing and an elderly woman active in charity work dies. It gets worse from there. Much worse.

But there's a happy ending for you, so it all works out. But the middle is not for the squeamish. But then, what Koontz novel is?

June 9, 2010


Seriously. Except it's not just ukulele. The songs are arranged in various styles, including reggae, pop, blues, with the intruments appropriate to the style. Each is performed by a different artist, but arranged and produced by David Baratt and Roger Greenawalt with accompanying essays by various individuals. As of this post there are 70+ songs in the catalog, all available for free download.

My picks for the playlist:

  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • Here There and Everywhere
  • Come Together
  • Because
  • Lady Madonna
  • Blackbird
  • Don’t Pass Me By
  • Getting Better
  • Across The Universe
  • Revolution (Live)
  • I Am The Walrus
  • The Word
  • Mother Nature’s Son
  • Day Tripper
  • Love Me Do
  • Hey Jude
  • Get Back
  • Honey Pie
  • We Can Work It Out
  • Back in the USSR
  • You Can’t Do That
  • Old Brown Shoe
  • Yesterday
  • Golden Slumbers
  • Love You Too
  • Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey
  • Here Comes The Sun
  • She Said She Said
  • Nowhere Man

June 8, 2010

Back in Action

I completed the 3,000+ pages of screenplay reading last weekend and am back to reading actual books. I'm in the final pages of three books. We'll see which one crosses the finish line first. Also working on the novel projects, Endless Vacation and Muffin Man. And doing a lot of remodeling. And the day job. My, where does all the time go?