Monday, December 28, 2009


Terminal Freeze by Lincoln Child
Alaska's Federal Wilderness Zone.two hundred miles north of the Arctic of the most remote places on Earth. But for a group of scientists sponsored by a major media conglomerate, an expedition to the Zone represents the opportunity of a lifetime to study the effects of global warming. The expedition changes suddenly on a routine foray into a glacial ice cave, where the group makes an astonishing find: an ancient animal encased in solid ice. It appears to be some kind of giant cat, possibly a saber-toothed tiger. When their discovery is reported back, their parent company quickly plans the ultimate spectacle - the animal will be cut from the ice, thawed, and revealed on live television. Ignoring the dire warnings of a local Eskimo group (and a native legend forecasting doom for anyone who disturbs this mythic creature), the scientists make one more horrifying discovery: the beast is no's an ancient killing machine. And it may not be dead.
I used to enjoy Lincoln Child's books. I also used to enjoy the ones he co-wrote with Douglas Preston. Somewhere along the way I stopped enjoying them. Did they change? Did I? All I know is this book was boring and predictable from page 1. The only reason I finished it was because it was a swift read. I gave up on Preston/Child a few years ago. I think I'm officially done with Child now.

The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis takes us on a profound journey through both heaven and hell in this engaging allegorical tale. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis introduces us to supernatural beings who will change the way we think about good and evil.
I decided to re-read this because Taproot is doing the play based on the book starting in January. Since I had read the book before, I knew doing a stage production based on it would be difficult. I remain skeptical. I'm sure they will pull it off nicely. They always do. I wanted to be a bit more familiar with the story for viewing the play.
I didn't enjoy reading the book as much this time. I think it's because my belief system is different this time around. My faith is in flux so I don't have a solid foundation to rest upon like I did the first time around. Things in the book didn't resonate with me like they did that first time.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rogue Carolers

Last night, Sarah and I were watching Gremlins (technically, it's a Christmas movie) and we were at the scene where the Gremlins are caroling in Mrs. Deagle's yard. I started hearing another noise and asked Sarah to pause the movie. Sure enough, there were carolers on the corner near our apartment. We listened for a bit and then Sarah, being the Christmas spirited person that she is, ran downstairs to give them all a Christmas cupcake.
Once she came back upstairs she confirmed my suspicion that some alcohol had been consumed. Despite sounding pretty bad, they were having fun and spreading the spirit, if not spirits, thru the neighborhood.
Seattle is an interesting place.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


MAD's Greatest Artists: The Completely MAD Don Martin
A couple of weeks ago I was at the Pioneer Square art walk with my friend Marshall. We were browsing at Elliot Bay Books (a great bookstore) and Marshall drew my attention to this collection. The cover price is $149.99. They had it for $29.99. So, I just had to get it. I actually bought two. One is a gift for someone close to us who also adores Don Martin.
What can I say about Don Martin and MAD Magazine? Well, one thing I can say is, I doubt I would be an artist today if it weren't for that crazy magazine. I loved it as a kid and read them until the covers fell off. My favorite artists were Sergio Aragones (I still have several of his paperbacks that I bought in the 70's) and Don Martin. I learned how to draw cartoons mostly from these guys. Of course, I had many, many influences, but these guys were in the top ten for sure. I can't tell you how many times I heard (when I was a kid), "Your cartoons look like MAD Magazine." Well, of course they did. Duh.
So, I bought it and read both volumes cover to cover. Some of it's dated but most of it's still pretty funny. The main thing that I bought them for is the art. Martin was an incredible artist and I don't have to invest in the gags to actually appreciate the work. Great stuff. I am so glad Marshall pointed this bargain out to me...even though the book weighs a bloody ton and I nearly killed myself lugging 2 of those bad boys back to the truck. Ugh.


Monster Island by David Wellington
It's one month after a global disaster. The most "developed" nations of the world have fallen to the shambling zombie masses. Only a few pockets of humanity survive — in places rife with high-powered weaponry, such as Somalia. In New York City, the dead walk the streets, driven by an insatiable hunger for all things living. One amongst them is different; though he shares their appetites he has retained his human intelligence. Alone among the mindless zombies, Gary Fleck is an eyewitness to the end of the world — and perhaps the evil genius behind it all. From the other side of the planet, a small but heavily-armed group of schoolgirls-turned-soldiers has come in search of desperately needed medicine. Dekalb, a former United Nations weapons inspector, leads them as their local guide. Ayaan, a crack shot at the age of sixteen, will stop at nothing to complete her mission. They think they are prepared for anything. On Monster Island they will find that there is something worse even than being undead, as Gary learns the true price of survival.

I'm not usually one to read a zombie novel but I decided to give this one a try. I almost put it down a couple of times within the first couple chapters but after that it got better. The character of Gary is quite interesting - a zombie with intellect. It was just different enough to grab my attention. Beyond that, I'm not sure if I liked it well enough to continue with the series. We'll see how desperate my reading situation gets over the next few months.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I went to the doctor on Tuesday to find out why my left foot was swollen and hurt so much. Turns out it's sprained. I have no explanation for this. I've done no twisting, no falling. Doc thinks it might be a combo of overwalking, the orthotics in my shoes, or the stretches I do for my back. (and before you ask, the stretches involve alot of leg and foot stretching)
So, I took 2 days off work but I returned today. I'll just have to take it easy. I'm wearing a brace that helps a bit. When I'm home I'll just have to keep it up and ice it. (fun in the winter)
Last month I had shingles. Now this. I'd ask, "What's next?" but I don't want to know.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Christmas on Mill Street by Joseph Walker
Take A Christmas Story and mix in The Sandlot and you’ll get Joseph Walker’s new holiday novel — Christmas on Mill Street. It’s 1962, and young Sam Andrews just moved to Utah from Arizona. A tall, overweight, semi-clumsy outsider, he’s still trying to fit in with the neighborhood boys. When discussion about sledding down the infamous Mill Street begins, Sam pipes in and says he’ll do it. The problem is, Sam has seen snow only in pictures and has never actually ridden a sled. And to top it off, Mill Street is practically a vertical drop with two deadly curves. A rider going too fast can get shot right off Mill Street and into the Tuttles’ thorn-filled pyracantha bushes. But there’s no turning back now. Readers will laugh out loud at the adventures and many poignant lessons leading up to Christmas Day and Sam’s eventual duel with Mill Street. Christmas on Mill Street is a delightful and inspirational family gift for this holiday season.
I grabbed this one on a whim from the library's new releases shelf. It's promise of being a cross between A Christmas Story and Sandlot is greatly exaggerated. The story is so predictable and full to the brim with hokey sentiment. The humor is pretty basic...nothing nearly as creative as the adventures of Ralphie in ACS. So, if you want to read a hokie period piece about Christmas in Utah...this is your book.