So Much Stuff I Can't Recall

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Spend 20% More on My Christmas Present Than You Normally Would

If you buy it at Borders with this coupon before Nov. 7th.

Print out two coupons and go back later and get my birthday (12/20) present.

Thanks in advance.

Mikesell : 9:41 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Hot New Hot Wheels

Well, I've only seen one (Sharkruiser) of the cool Hot Wheels I blogged on last time, but South Texas Diecast Collectors has some more new ones listed.

The coolest of the new ones:

Mikesell : 4:05 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Mr. Sub-3000

Today my Amazon rank passed the 3000 mark for the first time.

At 2973, it may fluctuate over and under for awhile, but it's cool to be under the 3K mark for now.

Mikesell : 3:24 PM : 0 snarky remarks

The Plot Thickens

Over at the NaNoWriMo website, there's a MessageBoard (forum) topic: One paragraph description of your Story.

Here's mine:

When David Graham arrived in town he expected to write a quick human-interest story and be on his way. Instead, a revivalist tent-meeting causes him to confront demons from his past - as well as a present-day demon intent on raising the dead and unleashing a harrowing zombie attack on the community.
Oooooh ... spooky!
(one part Elmer Gantry, one part Herbert West, Reanimator, two parts Oklahoma (by The Call), shake well, pour over ice, serve with a twist)
The Gantry and Reanimator parts are more thematic than contributory to the plot (the revivalist's name is Herbert Gantt, so if you catch the reference you might suspect something's up early on). The song Oklahoma (lyrics here) is really what prompted the story; I have no idea what the song means - the novel is partly an attempt to make some sense of it (Copyright lawyers, please note, although these three works contributed to inspire the novel, the novel is in no way derivative of any or all of them. Furthermore, the novel is set in Oregon, not Oklahoma, which, beyond having the same initial, have little else in common. Thank you for your attention. That is all.)

Mikesell : 12:15 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, October 29, 2004

Setting the Bar - How Low Can You Go?

One piece of advice given by the instigator of National Novel Writing Month is:
"… you should lower the bar from 'best-seller' to 'would not make someone vomit.' "
I think I can do that.

I've set up a second blog (they're free, take two), where I'll post selections of the least vomit-inducing prose from each day's work. Some days it may just be punctuation; other days, not even that. We'll see.

Special note to literary agents and publishers: I am, of course, kidding in the preceding paragraphs. It's gonna be a masterpiece, with hardly any execrable passages at all (unless you're into that kind of thing; in which case - hoo boy! - are you in luck).

Mikesell : 3:34 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Cover Me ... I'm Going In

Well, with the novel-writing thing coming up next month, I thought I'd take some of the last few moments of spare time and design a hypothetical cover for the book.

It's hypothetical not because I doubt it'd ever get published, but because I doubt I could actually get Disney's permission to use the "Haunted Mansion" font on the front.

The background is supposed to be genuine simulated cowhide, like Grandma's Bible used to be. Feel free to make snarky remarks about my Photoshop skills.

Here are some more samples of covers for books being written next month by other hopeful authors (the page can take awhile to load as many covers are quite large and not optimized for dial-up download).

Mikesell : 1:26 AM : 1 snarky remarks

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

SPAM! What Is It Good For?

Absolutely Nothi ... Well, maybe one thing.

In the book, No Plot? No Problem! the author includes tips from past NaNoWriMo participants, suggesting ways to make the month-long novel writing ordeal exercise more manageable. One person commented that she (if I recall correctly ("IIRC" for AFs, or acronym fans) the commenter was a she) got the names for characters in her stories by looking at the fake names used in the "From" portion of spam e-mails.

Right now I have a Ricky Singh, a Rupert Manley, a Caitlin Hensley, and an Esmerelda Mayo (really!) all wanting to sell me Rolex watches.

Got any good names in your Spam or Trash folders? Make a snarky remark about 'em. Maybe they'll make the book. At the very least they should be good for a laugh.

Mikesell : 1:36 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Book Review Friday

For the past several years I've been reading J.A. Jance's mysteries. For the longest time the opening volume of her Seattle-based detective, Until Proven Guilty, has eluded me at thrift stores and second-hand book stores.

Finally, on my latest run to St. Vincent de Paul's, I found it.

Because the ending of the book played a big role in homicide detective J.P. Beaumont's financial independence and is referred to frequently in subsequent books, I already knew how the book ended. And while the book wasn't all I hoped it would be, it was still good to check it off my list ... plus, it gave me something to review this week.

Why you should read my review of Until Proven Guilty: As I mentioned, the book wasn't all I had hoped it would be. Read the review and find out why.

Mikesell : 9:44 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, October 22, 2004

Cracking 800

Well, my total number of positive votes at Amazon is currently 802.

Still a few weeks left until Nov. 17th, the anniversary of the first review I wrote.

How high will it go? I'm hoping at least 803.

Mikesell : 3:57 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Brave New World

As part of psyching myself up for next month (National Novel Writing Month), I bought the how-to/survival manual written by the NaNoWriMo organizer. In it he points out that while 50,000 makes for a very short novel (and will likely have to be lengthened to get a lucrative book contract), there have been some good books written at that length over the years, including Huxley's Brave New World (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Of Mice and Men, and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy also qualify, though are less relevant to the title of this blog entry).

So what does BNW have to anything? Well, you'll notice that at the bottom of this entry there's a number in parentheses followed by "snarky remarks." I've turned on the Blogger "comments" feature.

This means that you can now click on the snarky remarks link, read other peoples' remarks (which don't have to be snarky, I just thought the two words went well together) and click on the "Post a comment" link to leave one of your own. (In theory that's how it works, no one's tried it yet ... we'll see ... is anyone out there? is anyone reading this blog? any one? any one? Bueller?)

If the feature gets abused, or no one wants to play along, or I desparately need a subject for another filler blog entry, I'll get rid of the comments.

But for now they're there.


Mikesell : 3:00 AM : 5 snarky remarks

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Dinner and a Movie

Last year Pizza Hut had a buy-a-pizza-get-a-DVD giveaway (I got Mr. Mom and a large half-pep/half-bacon pizza).

Now Papa John's is in on the act (I got Abbott & Costello Meet the Mummy (with a bonus Munsters episode) and Large Spicy Italian (we call him Ant'ny)).

Check it out.

Mikesell : 5:44 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, October 18, 2004

Short-Lived Reprieve

Well, yesterday I removed the non-fiction entry on my "what I'm reading" list, and today I put it back. Why? Because I decided to participate in this.

The organizer wrote a how-to book/survival manual and I picked it up at 20% off at Borders today. So ... after I finish that book and the Straub book I may go on a reading/reviewing hiatus throughout November.

I'll try and keep notes of my progress here on my blog, but that may be it for commentary. Who knows, but with family visiting and at least one trip out of town and post-Thanksgiving shopping, I don't know how much time I'll have for non-NaNoWriMo writing. If Philip does something extraordinary, like finishing his novel before me, I'll try to find time to note it in the blog.

Mikesell : 10:09 PM : 0 snarky remarks

50th Book Read and Reviewed This Year

Dorothy L. Sayers' The Mind of The Maker is the 50th book I've read and reviewed during 2004 (there are a bit more than 50 book reviews with 2004 dates, but several were read in 2003 and I only got around to reviewing them this calendar year - plus there are some calendars reviewed, too). It also marks the disappearance of the non-fiction item on my "what I'm reading" list (the only n-f book in my "to read" stack is Golf for Dummies and I'll probably get around to that in the spring unless we have a warm, dry winter and I get out my clubs before April). I've also completed reading J.A. Jance's first J.P. Beaumont novel, Until Proven Guilty, so look for that review in a few days.

Why you should read my review of The Mind of The Maker: In case you've been wondering "who you are?" and "why you're here?" I provide a short answer from the book. Also, if you happen to be in the toilet manufacturing industry (I don't know anyone who is, but I don't know who-all might come across this blog), I've included an especially encouraging comment just for you.

Mikesell : 12:12 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Return of Indoor Plumbing

For the past few weeks our bathroom has been under construction.

We'd had severe water damage to the walls and floors because of plumbing problems that stretch back years and years before we came out to live here. After a couple partial fixes (replacing the floor covering and shower walls) we decided to address the root plumbing problem and stop just covering up the obvious cosmetic problems. Consequently, we had the shower/tub and sink removed (the commode was briefly removed to fix the flooring below, but immediately reattached to the plumbing).

Today we got the tub hooked back up to the system. Phil gave it a test drive (photo).

Mikesell : 11:48 PM : 0 snarky remarks


I went away to a men's church retreat this weekend to Camp Rilea near Astoria, Ore. Camp Rilea is a military training center, which doesn't have a good website anywhere that I can find. I envisioned sleeping on a canvas cot in a quonset hut with musty swamp cooler over in the corner. Instead it was a very nice facility with comfortable bunks in the dorms, a nice, large meeting room with video projector and screen, a large dining area and rather spacious kitchen. The bathroom doors had "latrine" stenciled on them, but they were a standard bathroom with extremely hot water in the showers.

Almost made me want to sign up.

Since there's not a good website for Camp Rilea online, here are some photos:

Our retreat was held in conjunction with the Newberg Free Methodist Church's mens group, a great bunch of guys.

We golfed Saturday afternoon at Highlands Golf Course in Gearhart. Well, they other guys played golf. I had a nice stroll around the course, swinging my clubs and 2-3 times connecting with the ball in a not totally embarrasing fashion. I broke even on balls. I played the same ball for the first seven holes, at which point it fled deep into the rough. Fortunately, I had found another ball while looking for that first ball in a different patch of brush a few holes earlier. Needless to say, there were no water hazards on the course or I'd have gone through a lot more balls.

Mikesell : 11:13 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, October 07, 2004

New Gadget Review, Darn that Wizard!

About a million years ago (okay, maybe 15) I got a little 4-cup coffee maker through a Gevalia promotion. During the middle of last week the lid of the filter unit disappeared (as near we can figure, the wizard stole it). So, since Freddy's was having 10% off their appliances, I bought a new Hamilton Beach Stay-or-Go coffee maker on Sunday. At Amazon the reviews have come in either "love it" or "hate it." Here's my review.

Why you should read my review of the Hamilton Beach Stay-or-Go coffee maker: Did I "love it" or "hate it"? Read the review and find out.

Mikesell : 3:35 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, October 04, 2004

Thar She Blows: Another Book Review

Well, I finished James Patterson's When the Wind Blows, and it was and wasn't all I had hoped. It wasn't a great book, which meant I could use "It Blows All Right" title I thought up awhile back for the review. So, I didn't read a very good book, but I got to be snarky. A fair trade, I think.

Why you should read my review of When the Wind Blows: I suggest a movie you could watch and another book you could read with essentially the same plot, but where it's executed much better. And speaking of execution I run down a brief list of things an FBI agent can an cannot do. Would-be Mulders and Scully wanna-bees, check it out.

Mikesell : 6:15 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Fresh Off The Boat

Well, not exactly fresh anymore, since the photos were taken yesterday, but here are some pix of yesterday's picnic on the lake.

Mikesell : 9:42 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, October 01, 2004

New DVD Review

If I recall correctly, the first time I saw An American Werewolf in London was at VIPs Pizza near the IBM plant-site in San Jose (on Cottle? Snell? I don't recall which, but at the eastern end of Blossom Hill Road at any rate). Anyhoo, good pizza, good movie. Freddy's recently had down to $10 in a pre-Halloween special, so I picked it up. The other day I sat myself down and watched it. Last night I wrote a review about it. Now you're up to date.

Why you should read my review of An American Werewolf in London: I pass on some good advice from the movie re: taking late-night walks in deserted countrysides as well suggest a way to make singing Santa Lucia more fun. Plus, I speculate as to why there are so few werewolf movies out there, let alone great werewolf movies like this one.

Mikesell : 5:02 PM : 0 snarky remarks