Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Random Thoughts, 7/31/2013

  • Things I like about Miami:
    • I've never been remotely cold ever, and I have only sometimes been too warm.
    • The humidity in the summer is high but it's a lot more tolerable than I had been led to believe.
    • There are no mosquitos anywhere in the entire city that I can see. Unless they all show up from August 1st to September 25th and then immediately leave, the Miami mosquito reputation is completely unearned.
    • It's within driving distance of some really fun and interesting places. I've never had so many 'things to do' options in a city.
    • I so far have not tasted any good local restaurants with the sole exception of a small cafĂ© here in Weston. But that restaurant is good, if pricey.
    • My job.
    • My boss.
    • The variety in my work weeks. I get to spend two days of the week up in our Pompano Beach office, and I love that.
    • The church here is strong. The Fort Lauderdale mission is the #1 baptizing mission in the US.
    • There is a temple being built less than 1 mile away from us. This is the closest I've ever lived to a temple since my brief time in the Temple Townhomes in St. George and the 'Real World' house I shared with some LDS roommates in Mesa less than 1 block away from the temple.
    • The winters, while I miss snow, are unmistakably mild and comfortable.
    • I saw a blimp here once.
    • Much of the city is very pretty.
    • They have a good zoo.
    • The Sev on the corner sometimes has the Trifecta, which is our family name for the best Slurpee combination ever: banana, pina colada, and cherry.
    • Our part of town, Weston, is very nice and is immaculately clean, groomed, safe, and landscaped.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Winston Churchill

Friday, July 19, 2013

Charles Krauthammer

"If you doubt the arrogance, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue."

-Charles Krauthammer

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Book review: The Dark: New Ghost Stories, compiled by Ellen Datlow

This is one that I've had on my shelf since literally about 2005 or so. It was a ghost story compendium that came out in 2004, and for one reason or another I've never pulled it off the bookcase and have read it. I think part of the problem is that the first two stories were kind of lame, and I lost interest.

But I have told myself that I can't buy any new books until I read every unread book in my collection, and that leaves about 10 more books or so, including this one. So I read it! And it was...mixed.

The entire catch with this book is that the stories are all supposed to be:

1) New (well, new for 2004)
2) Very scary

The stories were indeed 1, but not so much 2. Plus I didn't realize they were 'adult' ghost stories, so there was some language and violence in parts. The interesting thing, though, is that the stories were, for the most part, pretty well written. And many of them had some good set-ups. But most had lame payoffs.

Jeffrey Ford's "The Trentino Kid"
An OK story about a guy who drowned while clamming, and he comes back as a scary ghost and helps a guy in a storm. Whatever.

Tanith Lee's "The Ghost In The Clock"
A story about an extremely entitled and unlikeable British woman who gets an offer to stay with her estranged Aunt but resents that when she gets there, she's expected to cook and clean to earn her keep. The author seems to want us to root for the woman, though, and not the Aunt, so maybe that's just how modern entitled British young adults are now. At the end I was cheering for the ghost to eat her. (It didn't.)

"The Thing About the Night"
A cool title and a very interesting story about mirrored rooms, with a lame and not scary payoff. A waste of a great setting.

"The Silence of the Falling Stars"
Another excellent title, this one is a great story...with absolutely no point whatsoever. Terrific set-up and characters, but the end is extremely ambiguous and you get no resolution.

Gahan Wilson's "The Dead Ghost"
A very short story about a guy in a hospital who wakes up next to a scary ghost. Meh.

Oates "Subway"

"The Seven Sisters"
An interesting story with a strange ending, and not strange in a good way. It's about 7 cool old houses. A decent set-up, but the ending doesn't really make any sense and they don't bother filling in any of the blanks, especially the main blank of the entire story. It's implied to be some kind of magic, but the plot holes bugged me too much to recommend.

"Doctor Hood"
This one was OK. It's about a scientist and his unbelieving daughter who investigate ghosts.

"An Amicable Divorce"
Another waste, this had a 'scary' ending that was tacked on completely after the fact, it seemed. It was like the guy wrote a short story about a divorced couple trying to reconcile, and realized it was going nowhere so in the last paragraph he adds 'oh and also there's a ghost monster thing the end.'

"Feeling Remains"
Unlikeable characters and the ghost isn't scary enough.

"The Gallow's Necklace by Sharyn McCrumb"
Unbelievable ending. The characters do stuff that is completely against their nature. Also has enormous plot holes.

"Brownie, and M"
Sort of has a twist. It's OKish.

"Velocity by Kathe Koja"
An interview with a haunted guy. Not worth reading.

"Limbo by Lucius Shepard"
By far the best story in the entire bunch. It's also quite long for a short story. It's a novella, I suppose. An ex-con escapes some assassins and hides out at a lake where he meets a woman. It's got some great twists and a very scary ending at a bizarre house in the afterlife. But I didn't like the ending. I suppose it was the right ending for the story given that it was a twist I didn't see coming, but it's a downer. Still, great scares-exactly the kind I like. Not violent-just unusual and SCARY. Very hard to find stories like this.

"The Hortlak by by Kelly Link"
It was OKish. It's sort of a comedy about zombies who go to a convenience store. It was written deliberately 'weird' and surreal so it's tough to know what's going on or what the point was. Interesting premise.

"Dancing Men by Glenn Hirshberg"
No idea what the point of this was. An old guy from WW2 trains his grandson to do ... who knows. Some meditating, and there's a wooden carving thing and maybe the guy's spirit was supposed to go into the grandson? I have no idea.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Catching up with Depeche Christian

What's up?

This is where I would apologize for slowing down on my blogging, but I would never do such a thing. I've been blogging like crazy. *In my mind* Well, OK, that's not totally true. I only blog moderately in my mind.

I've been going here and there and doing this and that. I went to Detroit the week before last, and would post some pictures except that 1) The cool place I visited was a private residence, and it would be inappropriate to post pictures of this very nice guy's home and yard, and 2) everything else was just a series of burned down horrible homes on the side of the freeway for 2 days straight. So not a lot of meat on the bone there.

We went and saw fireworks on the 4th of July and tonight we put together a small but neat little headboard for Maddie's bed. I've been working some long summer hours-work is as busy as usual, for sure. When I get home, I see the kids and spend time with Jan and then pass out, to be woken up every half hour by our naughty baby girl, who has been getting the slowest set of apparently excruciating teeth the world has ever known.

Anyone have any art requests? Post them in the comments and I'll see what I can do. If it's a church one, let me know and I'll post it to my church blog. After doing the big Ghosts & More Ghosts project last week, I'm possibly interested in doing some other book covers. If you can't tell, I'd love to branch out a little more on my art. Drawing 700 pictures of guys in ties tends to get old around at least the 690 mark...

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Random Thoughts 7/5/13

  • Let's get something straight, Internet. I'm not going to pay for fonts. Ever.
  • I'm still bitter that the Kix commercials in the 80s said, "Kid tested, mother approved." We kids knew exactly what that meant. It was a dumb slogan, because you knew precisely that kids had tested it and hated it, and their moms said they had to eat it anyway.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Ghosts and More Ghosts

"Hey Christian, what have you been working on for the last forever?"

Inspired by my frustration detailed in this post.