Monday, October 31, 2016

4 Horrors Movies That Almost F'ed Me Up as a Kid

I’m a little late on the Halloween season thing.  Given the latest circumstances on this blog, you can see why.  But before the calendar turns over and into November, I wanted to share at least four horror movies that messed me up as a child.  And a few of them I can more or less take as an adult (well I do have a hard time watching the unedited Candyman, anyway).  But that aside, my mom watched these movies.  Whether she rented them our bought them, I would watch them with her and turn around and asked to watch them on my own.  I have to give it to her taste, considering what we had to work with in our apartment in the late 80’s early 90’s.  And I kind of feel lucky I got to experience these types of movies, because that’s where my love of the horror genre originated.  Granted I was obsessed with Jason Voorhees and Freddy Kruger as well. 
But let’s get going on the list.  Most of you know the set-up and can look up whatever is missing.  Therefore, I’m just going to try to explain why any of the given movies almost messed me up.
Night of the Living Dead was a movie I would pop into the VHR on my own time.  It really was one of those films I wouldn’t just watch–but also study.  Each time I watched, there was always something new that I hadn't noticed any other time.
But anyway, I would watch this movie asking myself these things:
1.  Could this one day be possible?
2.  What would it take for me to survive?
And most of all…
3.  I refuse to stop watching this movie until I can make sense of how this is happening!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

My Images Disappeared...? FIXED!

Been listening to a lot of Lady Gaga’s new album, Joanne, and watching a hell of a lot of Kitchen Nightmares lately.  And that’s exactly how I’ve managed to reconstructed all the blog posts.  No, every single one of them.  Post after post from my WordPress back up.  At least until anything beyond April 2016, when I lasted updated there.  Nonetheless, the crisis of lost images (though some I couldn't recover) is over with.  I've saved the blog.


I had to re-take images from scratch from May 2016 up until now (lost and better resolution reasons).  Or at least before I last converted Blogger to the WordPress backup.  The good news is I found scribbles of those images in other online cloud folders (including on Canva).  So it wasn't all that hard to reconstruct each posts.  It also helps to have a good memory.
Anyway, it feels like I’ve been fighting to pull this together.  Yet, going through the past three years of post after post, made me truly appreciate the work it takes to upkeep a blog of any sort.  I mean, this recovery mission showed how much I've busted my ass these past 3 1/2 years.  Even in times where I felt like no one was hearing me, so I might as well give it all up.  But when you lose something special, and are forced to recover it, the situation really falls into perspective.  You begin to think of what life was like before, and what drove you to create.  You begin to think about what has changed since.  And, most of all, what opportunities your drive and commitment will eventually open up for you.  


Friday, October 28, 2016

Elizabeth Chase: One Female Private-Eye You May Or May Not Have Heard Of

Let’s talk about another female private investigator you may or may not have heard of. 
In 1995 author Martha C. Lawrence introduced readers to her female private investigator, Dr. Elizabeth Chase.  And Chase is anything but your conventional fictional private-eye.  She has an interesting hook serving her layers of profession.  What could that hook be?  Well, she’s an astrologer.  Or psychic/parapsychologist to expand the point. 
So basically Elizabeth Chase can get all Susan Miller on a murder investigation.  She can break down that pesky Mercury Retrograde phenomenal to, perhaps, unfurl the brain of the forgetful suspect.  All done to gather a clue, of course.  She can probably map out the Age of Aquarius, to see which suspect is likely to get his or her hands dirty in the business of killing.  Hell, maybe the dates of eclipses can help her stop a pre-mediated attempt at murder.
Who knows?
I’m more than positive that within the five books in the series, something extraordinary and uniquely flavored is going to happen.  Without (I’m certain) the author cheating both the readers and her protagonist.  I mean let’s get real, a book with a psychic detective ain’t worth beans if all she has to do is close her eyes to tap into her “source” for the answers.
No, no.  I’m sure it won’t be like that. 
Anyway, I’m kind of excited and ready to get started with what Martha Lawrence and her sleuth, Elizabeth Chase, are going to get into.  I have a feeling both are going to take me (and hopefully you) along mystery avenues hardly spoken of and far from traditional.  So–after having never heard of this author–this was the number one reason why I grabbed the first book in Lawrence’s series, Murder in Scorpio, the second I spotted it.  It's always why I value the good ole used bookstore circuits.  There’s so much to discover if you look.
For more on the author, visit her website at
Have you heard or read any of Martha Lawrence’s books?  Drop me a comment to whet my appetite on what I have to look out for in the future.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Beverly Hills Housewives vs. Hollywood Husbands

I’ve been reading Jackie Collins’ Hollywood Husbands for two weeks!  Since October 11th to be precise.  And, pitifully speaking, I’m only 330 pages into the 543 given.  And it’s not necessarily a slow read.  
You’d think being in the Did Not Finish (DNF) groove by now (after jumping the ship on Nora Roberts’ Stars of Fortune and Tayari Jones’ Leaving Atlanta) that I’d just let Husbands go.  I am tempted to stuff it into the wells of my bookshelf; out of sight, out of mind.  Yet, I don’t quite want to at the same time.  Maybe I'm enchanted with something about the book.  Because when I try to pick another read in its place, I’m drawn back to finish Husbands off.  I don’t want to cut Collins just yet–hoping this book would be as solid as the previous in the series, Hollywood Wives.  But man is it hard to keep engaged with this slog.
But first, let me do a quick summary…
The book’s primary characters consist of a trio of Hollywood buddies.  Jack Python is a talk show host.  He's married to a cheating actress, though his philandering ways are anything but subtle.  Anyway, Jack Python is slatted as the nobleman of the trio, given that he’s raising his Hollywood diva sister’s estranged child.  He's also the character designed to become the reasonable and pragmatic voice within the group.  Something that's evident by how he complains about being "over" the Hollywood scene.  Then there’s Howard Soloman.  He's a crackhead and movie studio owner with a line of divorces up to his bloodshot eyeballs.  Not one to swallow impulses, he has his eye on a friend’s ex-wife.  While, of course, presently married to an actress.  Without a doubt Howard is his own enemy, and struggles with the pressures of owning a movie studio that needs a good film to stay relevant.  Last there’s Mannon Cable.  He’s the irresistible heartthrob actor in the group.  He's also still hung up on his ex-wife (whom his friend, Howard, secretly covets), while his current wife tootles around pregnant with his child.  However, sadly, Mannon can’t stand the thought of either one.  He just wants a hot movie role and his ex-wife's jealousy over his new relationship.  You know, the one with the pregnant wife that he can't bother to show any love to.
Besides the men there are a host of women players as well.  Silver Anderson is Jack Python’s disunified sister.  Nonetheless, she's rich, famous, commandeering, and–despite her haughty attitude–probably the only likable character.  She does a lot of jacked-up things to her family, but she's a diva you're willing to throw out your moral code to entertain.  As of late, she’s eloped to marry a down-and-out broke-in-the-pockets wanted barman.  Naturally, his allure is that he's risky and thrilling.  He also has a penchant for knocking her “bottom” out just the way she likes.  Or at least enough to keep him around to the chagrin of her "loyal" staff.  Who, of course, are making plans to get him away from your highness to bring order back to the Hollywood castle. 
Let me see who else…
–Errr, well that’s really the only four that matters.  The remaining cast are more or less facilitators of each of principle's story thread.  So they're just sprinkled within to either kiss ass (in some cases literally), be insufferable to the principles, or push a scandal.  However, as far as the 330 pages I've gotten to, I haven’t a clue who’s pulling chains around here yet.  There's dirt to spread, but nobody's spreading it on each other; principle or secondary alike.  What I can say is a few of these secondary players (like the belittled housewife) operate as underdogs ready to bark back at their tormentors.  Which leaves one to continue reading and guessing how.  So the book is not a total slog.
Additionally, there’s an outsider's narrative in between all these story threads.  Taking readers back to a small town in 1974, it's a narrative featuring an abused teen turned arsonist heading for the Hollywood hills to “light” up one (or more) of the principle's life.
So why do I find the book so challenging to continue reading?  Especially when all this crazy, dramatic, and wild stuff is happening?  It's simple: every single character–with or without one–thinks only with their dicks!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

(1) World of Final Fantasy Dungeon Demo (PS4 Live Stream)

I don't quite understand what's happening and what I'm doing, but I can say I'm more interested in this Final Fantasy release than Final Fantasy XV (coming out on 11/29/2016).  We'll see how the rest of this demo plays out.  But if there's any FF game I'm looking forward to, it has to be Zodiac (FF12 HD re-release!)

Friday, October 21, 2016

My Images Disappeared...? UPDATE!

Vanished images update…
Well, hey.  Looks like I managed to get all the posts from 2013 reconstructed and back up.  I've been on a mission.  Yes, sir...
When you're tried, but you're still looking good!
But no–it’s been a trip.  At first I attempted to export the material from my back-up Wordpress blog.  Got the exported file saved, then found out it won’t process through Blogger’s import system.  At least without having the file converted from its original XML Document to a converted version (forgive me of the details, just know it’s been a headache).  
Terrified of finding myself hacked should I still try to convert the file via a sketchy online converter program, I’ve decided to go the long way around and just copy and paste the HTML code from posts in Wordpress to the other.  Problems: resolution of the images are no where near as crisp as the original.  Good: I can apply labels/tags to old posts, as well as incorporate affiliate links in the time before joining Amazon’s affiliate program.
I'm trying my best not to go over old post and "fix" whatever I find that bugs me in the writing.  It'll only hold up the process.  Because I have such a long way to go!
More BOOKS | DRAWING | LIFE updates underway!

Monday, October 17, 2016

My Images Disappeared...?

Okay. Here's what's happening. Some how or another (while putting together an image that wouldn't rotate) I deleted the folder containing all the blog's images. As you can see. It had me down for a minute, but I'm anything but a quitter. Especially for something I've spent hours and years developing. So with that said, bare with my maintenance on reapplying the images in these blog posts. They were stored on this wonky system Google has of combining Google+ images with Picasa. It's a system that needs a little user-friendly tweaking to help some of us understand what we're getting into when engaging with it to edit images.
How I feel about Google+ and Piscas's image system
But there's a bright side–so far. Years ago I started a back-up blog on Wordpress. That's right, I'm hosted in two different places. Periodically, I would export my blog here on Blogger, and import the entire blog on Wordpress. Now I haven't done a back-up since the early part of May, but every image/post before that is available and safely stored on Wordpress. I'm currently exporting it over onto Blogger–which looks like it'll be some time. Then, I'll have to fill in the holes that went missing.
So, that's what's happening.
In the meantime, here's the link to the Wordpress version of the blog. It's janky, but I always operated it as a back-up (you have to pay to get all the good stuff).
Until then thanks. I'll continue to post along here still.

Front-2-Back ~ Library 25 Cent Booksale Buys

I started to not even write about this, but what the hell.  So a week ago–on a nice pre-fall Saturday–my best friend and went to the public library’s 25 cent book sale.  Excitedly, of course.  We had some authors in mind, and felt like this was the perfect opportunity to dig into the shopping fray.  Nonetheless, you know how these sales go; lots of books pulled from the library’s attic, and crammed on a stream of folding tables like a flea market.  Perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  Even so, I walked in with three authors on my mind: Susan Wittig Albert, Nevada Barr, and Rita Mae Brown.  And I lucked out–and then some.  So let me share what I’ve found and why (more or less) I got them.
(I’m not going to talk too much about some of the authors, but will link their websites via their names.)
At the time I went to the sale I was in the middle of reading Doris Mortman’s True Colors.  I haven’t picked up her books in years–after spending the summer of 2011 engrossed in her second novel, First Born.  So when I found a cleaner copy of The Wild Rose at the sale, I grabbed it to replace the unread copy I bought at a thrift store a couple of years ago.  Hard to believe the copy is from the mid-80’s and in such pristine condition.  For 25 cents it was a no-brainer.  As for the copy of Mortman’s Rightfully Mine, it’s a discarded library book in decent condition.  But hey, I was enjoying True Colors so why not another Mortman book to add.  

Mortman writes what I would sum as the literary version of an 80’s mini-series.  Think Deceptions, Voice of the Heart, and Scruples.  Romance, drama, melodrama, family secrets.  You get it.  Oh, and of course stuck-up bitches with loads of money and attitude.  Love it!
Jackie Collins' Hollywood Husbands is finally off my Amazon wish list.  I placed it there immediately after reading Collins’ Hollywood Wives some summers ago.  Never got around to ordering the sequel, Hollywood Husbands.  But when this copy sprang up from the pile of books, I didn’t hesitate.  I’m an on/off Collins reader.  And from that experience, I don’t believe any of her titles I’ve read can top Hollywood Wives.  Here’s to hoping Hollywood Husbands can second it.  (Currently reading it and it’s selling me, but not in a “hot cakes” capacity.)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Delilah West: One Female Private-Eye You May Or May Not Have Heard Of

I have got to admit that I love female private-eye series pre the 2000’s.  And from the 70’s on into the early 90’s is where I often find the best stories.  Unless an author has established him or herself during those periods; post 2000 female private-eye series always seem to have this distracted flavor to them.  If I could put it into words, I would say there’s hard-boiled then there’s hard-boiled just to “look cute.“  Or, to be a lot more transparent, the rash of relationship drama and sex to maintain an audience tends to kill my vibe.  (Here’s to you Stephanie Plum.)  
Though I can’t speak on this with any totality of thought (if that makes sense).  Still, hardly have I experienced the whole “once to bed, twice is enough” experience in series built in the two decades following Maria Muller’s genre-shaking debut.  You know, of her 1977-birthing of female private-eye, Sharon McCone.  And Sharon was a great protagonist to flush in writers serving the world female-led hard-boiled stories during the 80’s and 90’s.  Of course without characters tip-toeing pass hotel wallpaper to slide into bed for a clue.  Usually with the unbeknownst killer.  
Muller gave writers a model of a female private-eye, and in turn, those writers served their special and unique versions of what translated as a woman detective carrying hard-boiled stories.  Plus, stories back then knew how to fill the pages with actual words–and procedural work.
But, incidentally, Marcia Muller's Sharon McCone wasn't the first contemporary American woman taking lead as a fictional private investigator.  Apparently, Maxine O'Callaghan's Delilah West came first.  Had it not been for a recent trip to a used bookstore, where I discovered West tucked in a stack, I never would've known.

As For Delilah West Herself
First, I have got to say that while researching O'Callaghan, I noticed she has newer reprints of her series.  And I have got to say I do not like the covers.  At all.  No shade to young adult books, but that’s precisely what the new covers of her Delilah West mystery books look like; some angst-filled YA book about vampires and love gone bloody.  Thank God I ran across her original paperback covers first.  And I’ll be sure to hunt for the original covers to this series here forward.  As dated as they may appear, it’s always best to keep to the classics in cases such as this.  I really, really can’t believe how awful the new covers are.

But I digress...
As I mentioned, the character of Delilah West pre-dates Marcia Muller’s Sharon McCone.  West first appeared in a short story featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine back in 1974 (three years before McCone debuted with Edwin and the Iron Shoes).  I suppose the short story break sort of did a strange disservice O’Callaghan’s protagonist, as Muller’s Sharon rose to attention and commercial success three years later.  While continuing to publish yearly releases to this day.  

Nonetheless, Orange County resident and ex-cop private-eye, Delilah West, broke into her first full-length book in 1981 with Death is Forever.  From 1981 until 1997, O’Callaghan released six Delilah West mysteries and a short story collection.
I say it’s high-time we catch up with Delilah West and keep her in mind when we’re talking about the beginning of the contemporary female private-eye. 


Free Amazon Kindle Mysteries!

Everybody likes free stuff, right?  Well, looks like Amazon Kindle has a number of free mysteries available for download.  Many of them are the first in their respective series.  I picked out a few–with the intent of using my Kindle a little more.  Download and enjoy!

Links are Amazon affiliate.

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