Monday, March 30, 2009

Mythos Monday - At the Wuthering Heights of Madness

Great, I'm in for it now...because of H.P. Lovecraft, I have to read Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. How in the name of Yog Sothoth did this happen?

I vaguely remember the circumstances. It was yesterday, but it seems like a strange aeon ago. We were driving back from Fall River to Boston after visiting my ailing grandfather, and NPR's story on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies came on. I think I snarkily remarked about that being the only way pieces like Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights could possibly be made interesting to me, because it's just a bunch of ye olde British people saying (insert blustering, throaty British sounds here).

My better half was quick to defend both books, stating I would probably like them, and mentioning that we have a copy of Wuthering Heights at home that I should read. I snickered, and tried to make like I was only joking, but I had already mentioned that I hadn't been reading enough fiction lately, so I was running out of escape routes.

"I'll tell you what," she says as I claw for a way out of this. Shit. I'm cornered now. She's gonna' challenge my manhood or something, "if you read Wuthering Heights, I'll read Lovecraft."

I smiled, because I'd been trying to get her to read Lovecraft, and also because I knew I was locked in, "Just tell me what I should read." I couldn't resist. It's a deal.

So I decided she'll read the stories of the Cthulhu Mythos. Much, much much easier said than done. There's about 4,000,000,000,000 different ideas of what stories and what authors make it up, so I had to narrow it. I decided to make her reading syllabus approximately as many pages as the Penguin Classics' version of Wuthering Heights (story text only), about 330 pages give or take. I would also limit her reading to stories written by Lovecraft.

Here is what she is reading:

At the Mountains of Madness
The Call of Cthulhu
The Shadow Over Innsmouth
The Dunwich Horror
The Colour Out of Space
The Dreams in the Witch House
The Shadow Out of Time
The Whisperer in the Darkness
The Unnamable

Not completely complete...there are quite a few more, depending on how you slice it. I could have added The Nameless City simply to show where ideas for later stories like At the Mountains of Madness came from and it is, I believe, the first of his stories to mention Abdul Alhazred and the "That is not dead which can eternal lie..." line, but it shows up elsewhere. I could have easily added The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and/or The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath but it would have been almost another 200 pages, and would have necessarily meant cutting out many of the stories listed above. So the best I can hope for is that she reads the above and gets more interested. Not likely, but you never know. She resisted Patrick O'Brian for more than a year, and then got hooked. I know, I know, different genres, but one can hope.

When we got back I made one last attempt to find an easy way out of my part of the deal. They did it for Austen, maybe someone did it for Brontë. Could there be an At the Wuthering Heights of Madness? Maybe The Call of Catherine? Wuthering Heights and Fungi from Yuggoth?

No luck. Oh well, I guess I'd better grin and bear it. Stiff upper lip, you know. Wot-wot?!?!

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Random Task

Whoda' thinked that Austin Powers' "Who throws a shoe?" question would be answered so resoundingly in 2008?

4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them...if you want to do this, consider yourself tagged. Link to yourself in the comments.

But this post has nothing to do with that. It has to do with fish. No, wait, with mummified horse penises. Ummmm...6.022E+23. No, hang on...shit. This stuff is random, but what does any of it have to do with me?

6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up. Hey CRUM!!!! It's up.

3. Under stress, I consistently bite my lip until it splits and then bite the dead skin that hangs off. It drives my wife apeshit.

random - adj. having no specific pattern, purpose or objective.

2. Post the rules on your blog.

So it's really fucking stupid to call this whole exercise random as there is a purpose and objective to it.

6. I'm supposed to be slicking an old iPod for my son to use instead of doing this.

A number of factors may influence the accuracy of semen analysis results, and results for a single man may have a large amount of natural variation over time.[3] For this reason, a subfertile result must be confirmed with at least two further analyses.

5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.

1. I don't always feel like following all the rules of a meme.

Christopher Anvil (born 1922) is a pseudonym used by author Harry C. Crosby. He began publishing science fiction with the story "Cinderella, Inc." in the December 1952 issue of the science fiction magazine Imagination. By 1956, he had adopted his pseudonym and was being published in Astounding Magazine.

1. Link to the person who tagged you.

In 2006, for the seventh consecutive time, Allied Irish Bank (GB) won the title of "Britain's Best Business Bank" from the Forum of Private Business, being ranked top for customer service and maintaining its lead over other major banks.

2. I love to use the word "fuck". It also (rightfully) drives my wife apeshit.

The majority of trench maps were to a scale of 1:10,000 or 1:20,000 but maps of 1:40,000, 1:80,000 and smaller scales were printed. Many of the 1:40,000 maps show trenches but were of little use to front line troops. The infantry preferred 1:10,000 and the artillery, mainly 1:20,000 but 1:40,000 were used by the heavy artillery. In the Report on Survey on the Western Front 1914-1918, published in 1920, Colonel E.M. Jack wrote "The 1:20,000 was the map commonly used by the Artillery, and as trenches could be shown on it in sufficient detail to be of use to the infantry it was the most useful scale of all, and the one that could least easily be dispensed with." Colonel Jack was a key figure in Great War cartography.

4. Although I have had considerable success in my career and am well-respected, I feel I am of mediocre ability at best and perpetually not up to the the point of self-defeat sometimes.

Procatalepsis is a figure of speech in which the speaker raises an objection to his own argument and then immediately answers it. By doing so, he hopes to strengthen his argument by dealing with possible counter-arguments before his audience can raise them.

3. Write six random things about yourself.

Izola Curry was an African-American woman who attempted to assassinate civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Born in Georgia, she stabbed King with a letter opener at a New York City book signing on September 20, 1958. King was eventually assassinated about ten years later.

5. I met my wife over teh intarwebs 12 years ago, and drove from CA to RI with her three days after meeting her in person.

Should I use facts from random Wikipedia articles to mix this shit up? Sure...

200 X = INT(RND*100)+1
400 GOTO 100

Thursday, March 26, 2009

THoroughly Useless (THU) Thursday

I tried formalizing the words in the chorus of this song, and this is what I came up with:

Because Diminuitive William, William refuses to return to his domicile
However, you will not force him against his will, William refuses to return
Attempt to inform all who have a vested interest, however, you will not succeed
Diminuitive William, William refuses to return to his domicile

When I repeated them to my wife she recommended I post it here, under this title.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mythos Monday - Images

...a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind. This thing, which seemed instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy, was of a somewhat bloated corpulence, and squatted evilly on a rectangular block or pedestal covered with undecipherable characters. The tips of the wings touched the back edge of the block, the seat occupied the centre, whilst the long, curved claws of the doubled-up, crouching hind legs gripped the front edge and extended a quarter of the way clown toward the bottom of the pedestal. The cephalopod head was bent forward, so that the ends of the facial feelers brushed the backs of huge fore paws which clasped the croucher's elevated knees.
(from "The Call of Cthulhu" by H.P. Lovecraft)

It's a fairly descriptive paragraph by Lovecraft, and about 10 days ago Ectoplasmosis posted an picture that Lovecaft drew himself of Cthulhu, though it's hardly as fear-inspiring as many modern ones we see. I like that the link talks about the eyes...apparently clustered and spider-like vs. what is normally seen today, though I haven't seen any story text in "TCoC" to indicate they are spider-eyes. Spider-like eyes would add such an incredibly alien character to Cthulhu though...which is probably closer to the intent.

There is a further wealth of images of Cthulhu and mythos-related monsters and some film shorts here as well. Scroll down, lots of good pics.

There's yet another image and a lengthy explanation of Cthulhu, the mythos, and its impact on pop culture etc at How Stuff Works. Interesting picture on the first page...not much of a bloated corpulence there...I think Cthulhu had been hanging out with Brian McNamee and "Raw-jah" for a while.

Still, to each his own. This artist has the bloated corpulence down, but has undersized the wings a bit, methinks. It's still funny as Hell. I hope he produces something new soon.

Or, you could just dress your kid up and take a photo of his non-plussed ass...

Unconnected to the above, but still with roots in Lovecraft and the Mythos, briwei took the time to point me toward the web comic Shadowgirls by David Rodriguez and Dave Reynolds, about a mother-daughter team who discover they have "dark powers" as evil creatures invade their home town of Innsmouth. It's been running for a while now and there's a lot of it I haven't read, but I always dug girl fights. Magical ones are even better. Interesting the mother's name is Charon...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Twitter-Blog Self-Licking Ice Cream Cone

"I'm telling you this to tell you what I told you before about things I've already told you."
photo: suzukimaruti

So lately I've been seeing a lot of blogger posting their "Daily Twitter Roundup" under various titles. I mean, only in the last couple of weeks. Turns out the daily roundup is delivered by

Now, I don't see anything wrong with putting your Twitter feed on your blog. It's an interesting addition to the site. I have my feed up, many blogs I follow do as well.

But it's kind of a "side dish" if you will. I don't go to blogs to see what someone tweeted. I mean really, who is so important that you want to visit their site just to see what they tweeted?

And many people (myself included) tweet links to their blog posts...including these "Twitter Roundups".

Okay. That's enough. I like Twitter. I like blogging. But when you have a website post your daily tweets to your blog, and some of those tweets are about your blog posts, and then you send another tweet telling people to come to your blog to read a blogpost to review your tweets, some of which also tell people about your blog YOU'VE GOT A SOCIAL MEDIA SELF-LICKING ICE CREAM CONE.

I can't see why someone would do it that way. I try to think about it. Maybe you gather and tweet lots of links that people want to see. But they can just go to your Twitter home page...and there are better ways to push links via social media. I am by no means a social media ninja. Troglodyte is closer to the truth. If someone knows or has a better reason or gets utility, I'd like to know. I guess it's a good way to screw around on Twitter all day and still complete all your NaBloPoMo goals.

I post things here because they are, to me, worth more than 140 characters. If I don't have something worth pointing out or discussing, I don't bother. I would argue that a post generated by the LoudTwitter / Blog self-licking ice cream cone stands a good chance of not even being worth one of the 140-character tweets it lists.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I wonder if I'm overreacting or being a typical "my kid is smarter than you and can do no wrong" parent. I probably am, a little bit. But my (and my wife's) hide is slightly chapped. Last week, my son turned in what appeared to be a typical piece of homework, geared toward preparing for the state standardized academic tests he will go through later this year. We really have a problem with the outcome.

First, I have a problem with the entire process. I find that the homework, especially the math homework, is more geared toward teaching problem-solving mechanics than actually comprehending concepts. I've talked about this before. Teaching toward understanding concepts is more effective.

This time it was in a reading comprehension piece, not math. The story was an adaptation of the classic fable of Androcles and the Lion.

There were a series of multiple choice questions, and a final question requiring a written answer. The final question was "Did Androcles deserve to die? Why or why not?" My son's answer was very basic - No he did not, because he was escaping slavery, and nobody should be made to be a slave. My wife and I reviewed the answer, and agreed.

It turns out the teacher didn't and awarded 50% (2 of 4) for the question. Her comment was "What about helping the lion?"

What about it?

First of all, the question misses the entire point of the story - which is simply that kindness and friendship are repaid many times over. While it definitely influenced the lion's decision to let Androcles live, it has absolutely no bearing on whether or not he "deserves" death. Take the Lion out - does Androcles deserve to die simply because he is an escaped slave? Put the lion back in but assume Androcles is a child molesting AIG executive who routinely waterboards endangered polar bears. Does he deserve to live because he helped a lion?

Secondly, the grade automatically discourages thinking beyond the face value of the story. Which is bad because, as I stated, the very question was not germane to the moral.

But my wife and I were in an absolute funk over this. He wasn't happy either; he wondered what he could do and we told him he could always ask her about it and explain, which he did. Nope. He deserved to live because he took the splinter out.

Now I don't think we're going to press anything. It's small potatoes, really - it's not going to keep him from going to Harvard (the cost will, though), the state standardized tests are not "counted" at this level, and his teacher repeatedly sings his praises when we see her out and about. I'll just chalk it up to "It's those stupid standardized tests."

What we really wanted to do was write a letter and attach it to the paper stating that the actions of Androcles, while demonstrating friendship and kindness, have zero bearing on the ethical and existential question governing whether he retained or forfeited his right to continue breathing. I still might. Or, maybe I'll just write "What if Androcles were a child-molesting AIG Executive who routinely waterboards endangered polar bears?"

No, I won't do that either.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mythos Monday - Better Late Than Never

I meant to have everything put together long before now, but with a damned busy job, four young children, and a myriad of other things going on in my life, I usually can't sit down to start doing anything until around 10pm...but nonetheless, there is plenty to stick up here from the world of politics, entertainment, pop culture, and even here goes:

Paul of Cthulhu, creator of points out The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society's Dark Adventure Radio Theatre (DART). Radio re-creations of four outstanding Lovecraft stories: At The Mountains of Madness, The Dunwich Horror, The Shadow Out of Time, and The Shadow Over Innsmouth. You can listen to (or download) the trailers for free, but the programs themselves cost. I normally wouldn't point someone towards something you need to pay for, so I'll say that I'm not affiliated with HPLHS in any way, I can't vouch for what you're going to get and I don't get paid to do any advertising for them. The trailers are cool, and they were all I needed to hear.

Also in entertainment, looks like we may see Lovecraft's work on TV soon. Fangoria reported recently that Herbert West - Reanimator: The Series is currently in development.
What BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER was for Gothic storytelling, HERBERT WEST: RE-ANIMATOR will be for sci-fi and horror.
Little secret: I liked Buffy - the movie and the series. If you look at the pictures, however, it looks more like 90210 or The O.C. meets Lovecraft. I'll probably end up watching it anyway. And when I realize that it's too adapted to the youth of today, I'll probably still watch it, using my need to heap unimaginable amounts of scorn upon it as the rationalization...

Earlier this month the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka KS protested at the University of Chicago over some bullshit or other, dragging along their usual gang of fucktards. It turns out the Phelpsian douchebags were met with a ferocious counter-protest from all walks of student and staff life, including this young lady:

Immediate popularity among people who've actually heard the name Cthulhu on various social networks like twitter, flickr, etc. know, I got to give the gal "snaps" for poking fun at Freddie and his gang of hatemongers, but I find the sign sort of lame...Maybe I'm just being a party pooper.

Since I just talked about goings on at a university, the final few links are going to be more "academic" in nature.

Jason Colavito is an anthropologist and journalist who enjoys debunking fringe science and "Ancient Astronaut" theories. On his website he takes some time looking at H.P. Lovecraft as a jumping off point for the whackos who actually believe in this stuff...

Dr. Justin Woodman is another anthropologist who studies the occult extensively and is also a Lovecraft fanatic. Look at his profile on his blog and you'll see what I mean. He apparently did a series of four lectures in 2007 concerning Lovecraft and his influence on the occult; I bookmarked the page on some time ago, but have yet to get around to listening. You know...all that spare time I have.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Yokels Gone Wild...

Aaaah, the local St. Patrick's Day Parade...the Sunday before St. Paddy's Day, it is the quintiessential reason for tens of thousands of people to line the streets, drunk, and scream "WHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" at anything and everything that walks by. It's such an amazing behavior...

They're just dumber (looking), drunker and have fewer teeth...but hey, they're standing around, with drinks, holding their hands up in any one of several gestures meaning anything from "Number One" to "Hang Loose" to "Sign of the Devil", and they're screaming. So they must be cool.

As it so happens, this year it fell today - the 72nd anniversary of the death of H. P. Lovecraft. Oh, and it's the 2053rd anniversary of Julius Caesar getting stabbed to death. Hmmmmm...Caesar stabbed, Lovecraft of intestinal cancer, the common thread? Massive internal organ damage. I think there's a connection here...but I digress. My point? None, really. I just wanted to do this...

Happy Death Day, Howie...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Great...Another One...

Crummy talked about having more than one blog being like loving more than one woman. It sounds great but in the end, both end up being neglected. True, unless you use enough Viagra. But be careful, you might end up like this guy.

Or, worse yet, this guy:

And well, while don't plan on popping pills or "not having sex" with delusional interns (but the Secretary of State? Well...maybe for the notoriety) I do plan on spreading myself more thinly through the blogosphere by starting YET ANOTHER BLOG.

I've decided to try and write something (or things, if it ends up working out) for the Innsmouth Free Press website to which I alluded earlier this week...possibly even a piece or two (I have two ideas) of fiction for it; so this blog will be the place where I throw down story sections, go over ideas, and ask those whose opinions I value to offer criticism, if they feel so inclined.

The blog is called "Appreciable Mental Strain" and is lifted from the first sentence of Dagon, one of the first short stories Lovecraft wrote.

Invitations will be forwarded carrier those of you whose emails I have.

If you'd like to follow and I don't have your email please drop me a line at cthulhusfamilyrestaurant- at- gmail- dot- com. (broken up to protect from spambots...thanks for the tip, Crum!)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Enemy...

I've come to realize today that I have an enemy. Actually, I know I've had this enemy for quite some time now, I'm just finally realizing that I have to stand up, say "fuck you" and shoot the sum'bitch down. To say my enemy has made things difficult is an understatement - he has made my work suffer, and has intimidated me into near paralysis. My performance suffers because of it. My career could very well suffer because of it. And if that happens, my family will definitely suffer, all due to my enemy who has recently revealed himself to me.

Perfection...the enemy of good enough. Now I would not call myself a perfectionist - at least not "openly" so. I'm perfectly happy to get by on many things, particularly when I'm doing them for myself. I determine what is needed and get it done well and I am satisfied.

But when I have a requirement placed on me - to deliver "up the chain" - things can get out of hand in a hurry. I look at what needs to be done, determine the specified and implied tasks, and the mental mayhem begins. Question after question mulled over, detail after detail piled on, constantly looking to add more and more.

I feel that if I leave even the tiniest hole...anything up to question - "have you thought about?" - that I have failed. That I was not up to the task to begin with. Now this has a place - in a final product, presented to a customer, or a plan that places people and equipment "on the line" you need this level of attention. But in something like a proposal, an outline, a brief position paper, this is ruinous.

And I end up there often; I'm looking way too deep, doing way too much, and after stress, hand wringing and way too much work, I pare things way down and produce something more reasonable. It's usually what should be done in the first place, but the mental byproduct of my effort is that I am thoroughly unhappy with the product and myself, even if it is in itself correct.

Alternately, I'll let the thinking and "what if"-ing drive me into an overwhelmed paralysis, squander too much time, and produce something at or near the last minute that embodies too much effort for the result. Again, almost always "on target" but the net effect of the process is to deflate my opinion of my own abilities.

It applies to my writing, too. It's part of the reason I do not post as often as I want. Mentally I am reading and re-reading as I type, becoming unhappy with it while it's coming out, then deleting and re-writing. So that a piece like this that should take 20 minutes takes 45.

So...I need to break a habit. And that habit is striving for perfection when perfection isn't called for.

Sometimes, good enough is.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mythos Monday - Cthulhu is Boring!

Shortly after starting this blog I initiated a failed attempt to do a weekly link-dump for Cthulhu and things Lovecraftian. It only lasted a few weeks because...well...the shit can be really...BORING. And nothing is more boring than geeky boring. Like someone tweeting "Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fthagn!" Gee, I've NEVER heard that clever.

I guess what I'm saying is, impress me, make me laugh, show me something I never seen before. I love geeky, but it needs to not suck...or at least be original. So that's what I'm going to try to do here, every Monday. Take what I've seen over the past week that I like and just dump it here with some commentary. As much to catalog it for myself as for anyone else.

I can't remember who to hat tip for this one, and I'm not sure of the veracity of all the claims, but I am 100% sure that the claim as to Cthulhu's abilities are false.

Neo-con blogger Robert Stacy McCain invoked the Great One's name used some Cthulhu imagery as a harbinger of doom for "Mad Money" Jim Cramer.

I'm not a writer. But I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express about 4 years ago when I moved my family from Washington to Rhode Island. Which is why the concept of The Innsmouth Free Press seems like a lot of fun. A fictional Loevcraftian publication that is actually generated by its readers. Assuming they take any of my drivel. @innsmouthpress. And in one of their latest tweets they point out this funny (and 3-year old) take on a popular late-70s' / early-80's maritime show...

And I'm saving the best for last. The Obscure Hollow posted some pictures and clips from a trio of Lovecraftian creations. The first was the 2005 movie "The Call of Cthulhu" available from the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society. I did not know this existed. But I do now, and as soon as I take a minute from this silly self-aggrandizing masturbatory publishing lark I intend to order the DVD. The second is a pair of Lovecraft video shorts just put up today. One is a silent film adaptation (from the 1930's) of The Other Gods that is pretty cool. My favorite there is the "A Lovecraft Dream" animated piece that brilliantly...well, just watch it - you won't be disappointed!

That's it for this first Mythos Monday. No, Cthulhu really isn't boring, if you know what you're looking for. Everyone has fun with the mythos in his own way...

If you see anything you think I'd like, get hold of me at:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The 25 Writers Meme Part I

Like Dawn at Weldable Cookies who tagged me with this, I don't always take to memes right away, if at all. I've been doing quite a few lately though, so what's the harm in one more? Pretty simple - list 25 authors that have influenced my writing. I'm not sure I have that many influences lately outside The Naval Institute Guide to Writing. But I tried. I don't know if I see all of the below in my writing, but they all have/had a profound effect on me. Like my last "double digit" meme that required thinking, I'm publishing this one piece meal. Half today, half later...

1. H. P. Lovecraft - Duh. Nobody before or since has mastered the combining of science fiction and horror. I think the mythos he created is not only vastly under-appreciated, but also overdone in the silliest way. And many of us who appreciate it also overdo it...we all have. Hey, lots of people like to say "Cthulhu" and snicker like Beavis and Butthead.

2. J. R. R. Tolkein - The detail with which he created Middle Earth, combined with the eloquent manner in which he drew me into it. Very, very few could ever do that. He spoiled every other fantasy author for me. I could not get past 50 pages of any of them after I'd finished LoTR.

3. Patrick O'Brian - What Lovecraft and Tolkien are to fantasy and horror, O'Brian is to historical fiction, especially the great age of fighting sail. Forget the movie - though it is a reasonable representation of life in Nelson's navy - Master and Commander the book is such a phenomenal piece of literature. Instead of creating a world, he meticulously re-creates the world of two centuries ago, and goes to extreme lengths to preserve the actual history itself - if he puts Captain Aubrey in a particular event, he does so only when there is a logical avenue (i.e. he doesn't replace a Lieutenant with a Captain) and does not change the outcome (if the good guys lose, they lose); I've had arguments with friends who favor C. S. Forester's Hornblower to "Lucky Jack" Aubrey, but I prefer the historic accuracy and detail over the swashbuckling.

4. Michael Moorcock - Okay, I lied when I said Tolkien spoiled other fantasy authors for me. The Elric Saga showed me that fantasy can have a gritty, gut-wrenching anti-hero and still be damned good reading. It also turned me on to The Chronicles of Corum, a tale rife with mutilation, loss, slaughter and revenge. Oh yeah - and if you ever listen to Veteran of the Psychic Wars by Blue Oyster Cult, you have Moorcock to thank.

5. Denny Aaberg - If you aren't into surfing, surf history and the Malibu scene, you have no idea who he is. Denny Aaberg wrote two short stories about a 60's-era hot-dog surfer named "No Pants Mance" that are just brilliant. They embody the spirit of surfing to me. Maybe you've seen the movie Big Wednesday, directed by John Milius of all people. It's based upon the characters from these stories.

6. Stephen King - The second horror author on my literary trek to H. P. Lovecraft. He also cites Howie as a big time influence. His meshing of visceral, soul-shaking horror had a huge impact on me. His greatest work was done in a time when I was growing up and in the phase where I was just beginning the transition from boyhood to manhood. Everything takes on a deeper meaning then. Oh, and he's a Red Sox fan. So there.

7. Edgar Allen Poe - As with many people, he was my first literary introduction into the macabre and the dark side of human nature. The Telltale Heart and The Cask of Amantillado being early favorites. Though I think the latter would have been better if the main character had said "biatch" after "Nemo me impune lacessit" and "motherfucker" after "In pace requiascat!"

8. Earnest Hemingway - The courage and fortitude of the "Hemingway Hero" through pain and suffering, triumphing only to lose everything - as demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea and A Farewell to Arms - love it or hate it, it's powerful.

9. George Orwell - Yeah the books about piggies and the government running everything are really great, but I also admire his persistent quest for clear, and concise written communication that relies on the active voice. If more people would take this on board, the average yokel's writing wouldn't be so doubleplusungood.

10. Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Scarlet Letter. I swore I'd shoot myself before I read this again or allowed myself to write anything that even vaguely resembled it.

11. William Gibson - Pioneer of the cyberpunk and steampunk fiction genres. Think the movie Johnny Mnemonic sucks? It does. But the short story is pretty awesome.

12. Craig Stecyk - journalist who in the 1970's first exposed the whole "Dogtown" skate scene in Venice CA in a series of articles for Skateboarder. Written many times about the surfing / skateboarding scene and lifestyle, always with an incredible edge. From in your face, "Fuck you, we rule and we know it" reporting to breathtaking "man vs. ocean" short stories. Great stuff.

Uh, okay, that's half...roughly. And I'm actually going to tag people this time because I think this is a cool meme and a good mental exercise. So I'll tag half the people now and half later.

Randal at L'ennui melodieux - it's about time I tagged you back, and you're a damned good writer, so I wanna' know!

Dr. Momentum at Aces Full of Links - you may have read more than any person I know. I hope you take this one up.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Further Complicating the Identity Crisis

Okay so after starting up the new home brewing blog I've finally made the break complete. My other blog and Cthulhu's Family Restaurant are now separated entities in blogger, run by one guy through different profiles.

"Chef Cthulhu" is now the new admin name here. But you can still call me Bull.

Call it double life,'s all part of my vision.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Reality Imitates the Mythos...Again...

There's got to be a reason that this story from the core of the mythos is so appealing on so many levels...

This could be one of them.
Geologists say that mountain ranges such as the Alps or the Himalayas form in collisions between continents. The last time Antarctica was exposed to such forces was 500 million years ago.

"The mystery here is that the Alps are only 50 to 60 million years old, while here we have a mountain range that may perhaps be as old as 500 million years," Ferraccioli said.

Hmmm...think they'll find any triangular slates with striated markings when the ice sheet melts?
It seems that he had pondered a great deal, and with alarmingly radical daring, over that triangular striated marking in the slate; reading into it certain contradictions in nature and geological period which whetted his curiosity to the utmost, and made him avid to sink more borings and blastings in the west-stretching formation to which the exhumed fragments evidently belonged. He was strangely convinced that the marking was the print of some bulky, unknown, and radically unclassifiable organism of considerably advanced evolution, notwithstanding that the rock which bore it was of so vastly ancient a date - Cambrian if not actually pre-Cambrian - as to preclude the probable existence not only of all highly evolved life, but of any life at all above the unicellular or at most the trilobite stage. These fragments, with their odd marking, must have been five hundred million to a thousand million years old.

I can't be sure. I wonder if we're going to see any aeons-old protoplasmic things or cylindrical, winged space beings. We just can't be sure. But he knows....

He knows...

Now this is religion in schools that I could be a fan of...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Wrapping Up the Album Meme

I decided to do the 15 most significant albums meme in two parts because that's how I decided to do it. Since I did 8 covering through high school last time, we start off in the college years now. So 7 more albums to cover the last 22 years...and the more I think about this stuff the harder it is, but who cares, I'm not getting a grade on this. Yadda-yadda-yadda-bullshit-bullshit here we go...

9. The Wall - Pink Floyd. Yeah, like every college kid doesn't relate to this album. The part I related to the most was Track 5, Side 4, "Stop". No, I wasn't tired of being a fascist dictator. I was going through some tough adjustments entering "military life" as an officer candidate and the lyrics "I wanna' go home...take off this uniform and leave the show..." rung fairly true. In retrospect, I was being a wimp, and I'm glad I didn't cave.

10. Pornography - The Cure. By the time I'd graduated college I had every one of their CD's. Still do. Ranging from early Brit post-punk pop to fluttery, big-hair-and-lipstick wailing euro-whatever, this album is by far their best work. Dark, downbeat, guitar-based despair with a heavy dose of pulsating base drums, goth rock at its best. All you sniveling "emo" twits should understand where you came from. Then get a life.

11. Turn it Around! - Various Artists. Another compilation that is not really an album at all. It was a pair of 7" records. I found it at a used / indy record shop near campus while I was gaining interest in the whole "DIY" attitude of the late 80's punk/hardcore scene. The record was produced as a fundraising effort for 924 Gilman St. I'd never heard of the place at the time, but based on the band names and pics on the jacket it looked to be a good risk. Turned out to be a great choice - played it to death.

12. Southern Harmony and Musical Companion - The Black Crowes. The first music to really move me after I had left the dreamworld of college and got out on my own. After dealing with so much of the early 90's "alternative" stuff that was saturating the LA and Long Beach airwaves this was the first new thing I'd heard in years that just felt "real". As awesome today as it was 17 years ago.

I'd have to say the most significant albums have been the ones that point backwards. And like a couple of previous ones, they are all compilations. I like them because they condense the work of artists I enjoyed or caught snippets of growing up, but most of the time did not stop to take the time (or was just too young) to really appreciate them for what they were doing.

13. The Story of The Clash Vol. 1 - The Clash. Do people really know how much is "owed" to Joe Strummer and Mick Jones? Probably not.

14. Decade of Steely Dan - Steely Dan. With Donald Fagen, another graduate of the Heavy Metal Soundtrack. All of their greatest work (except "Hey Nineteen") was done before I really even had a fucking clue of what good music was about.

15. Anthology: Through the Years - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Tom Petty. He may be ugly as sin, but his music is a fine only gets better with age. One of, if not THE, quintessential American rockers. Yeah Bruce Springsteen, maybe even more than you. Blasphemy? Depends on your point of view.

So there you have it...the last half. 15 is really a small number - I could easily double the number with honorable mentions, but I've spent enough time on this already, and my muse is departing...