Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Gloom, I Has It

Now Playing -
Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere
by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Life - 

Ahh, days off, why do you have to end? For the last few weeks, we've been fortunate enough for our days off to fall on the same two days. It's been really nice. We've built a porch, made some fun little trips, worked in the house a bit. In the next few, that'll change a little, my boss is going out of town, so my schedule will be all over the place. That's why we decided to hit Portland and the beach this "weekend" (Which is Thursday and Friday for us) We had some shopping to do and we wanted to find a few items to decorate our porch with.
On that front, we weren't especially successful. The mall was a bust, Michael's Crafts and The Christmas Tree Shops had a few things, but nothing in our price range. Though the Christmas Tree Shop DID have Stubbs Barbecue Sauce, which is my favorite and impossible to find out here. (I bought a barbecue recipe book too for $4) Eventually, we decided to give up on the decoration quest, and headed down the road to Old Orchard Beach. I was intrigued to visit it again, as last time we went it was pre-season and very rainy and cold. I thought it might be fun to see it in full swing.

Along the way, we stopped at the skeeviest flea market ever. Every single tent was filled with items that looked like they'd fallen off a truck in 1992 and had been sitting in these tents on sagging card tables ever since. Stuff like Micro Machine coloring books and impractically designed knives. VHS tapes and badly faded "Harley Davidson Parking Only" signs. We wandered into the bazaar until we started to fear ever making it back to the car safely and then fled.

 Naturally, because I wanted to see OOB in full swing, it was gloomy and windy when we arrived. Which just made the air humid and muggy, somehow. But there were still quite a few people sacked out in the sand and wandering the boardwalk.
 I was surprised, though I shouldn't have been, at the variety of tourists. It's clear that the beach gets about half of the business from the South, New Hampshire and New York, even as far down as Florida, and the other half travels down from Canada - there were a lot of signs in French as well as English. I guess it's a good middle ground for them , though, to be frank, I liked it far less than Oregon and would likely not drive hours to get here.

The boardwalk and shops were mildly diverting however, though most of them sold things we weren't interested in. Clothing, henna tattoos and the like. We wandered around the carnival for a bit and had some crappy fries, then some excellent fries, and split a piece of decent pizza.

 There were a lot of people out, though most of my pictures seem to make the streets look kind of empty, and we had to shuffle through crowds of largely heavyset and sweating people, most of them holding french fries, ice cream, slabs of pizza or circles of dough.

Which was probably my favorite part of the day, the treat they call "Fried Dough" it was hot and decadent, swimming in honey butter and powdered sugar, with just a hint of cinnamon. The name bothers me though, it's like no one out here understands the importance of showmanship or something. Back home, these beasts would have been called Tiger's Ears, or Honey Butter Scones, or Elephant Ears. (Apparently, people in Idaho associate slabs of dough with animal ears, for some reason...) And if I owned a shack on the beach selling these, I would immediately call them something like Sand Dollars or Dough Clams, even Beach Blankets would be a better name than Fried Dough. Boring! But tasty!
After wandering for a bit more, we headed home, stopping off at a tiny toy store and an ice cream stand on route one. Yesterday, we went out for lunch, violating my previously stated "Not leaving the house except in case of zombie apocalypse, but it was worth it for some excellent fish and chips at O'Sheas. There's also a great shop next to the restaurant called the Nest, which sells all manner of nice home decor, where we got a few ideas for the house. We also made a quick stop at the Goodwill for some pillows and the craft store for some fabric to cover the pillows with. 

Then I read an entire James Patterson book and made dinner.

 Oh yeah, and the title to my blog? A result of watching this commercial WAY too many times -


Reviews Of Unusual Size - 
5 Things About...

by James Patterson & Peter DeJonge
2003, 384 pages, ebook

1 - A stand alone novel about a law student who gets caught up in the death of his brother, corruption, rich jerks and more death!

2 - I didn't enjoy this novel as much as Beach Road, another collaboration between the two authors, but it was pleasantly diverting, with some interesting twists.
3 - I read this in one sitting. Patterson's way of writing his thrillers makes the books seem a lot shorter than they really are. Which is why I read them as a brief escape so often.

4 - Most of the characters seemed kind of stereotypical and more wooden than I would have expected, especially the main character's friends, but I did get a kick out of the grandfather, a outspoken Irish coot.
5 - The Beach House actually has very little to do with Beach Houses, but I bet it sells itself as a summer read very nicely!


by Stieg Larsson
2009, 600 pages, ebook

1 - This book has been so heavily hyped. I've heard it called everything from "The Best Book You'll Ever Read" to, inexplicably, "The Biggest Thing Since Harry Potter!" which is odd, because the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo has very little to do with boy wizards, or young readers, for that matter. Apparently, from now on, any book that gets a bit of popularity will be compared to Harry Potter or Twilight.

2 -It does have to do with a mystery surrounding a missing girl, a rich, screwed up family, a disgraced reporter and a screwy investigator. It's like if James Patterson and VC Andrews had a love child that was raised by Michael Connelly in Sweden.
3 - Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the book - it's a plump, tangled thriller, but as usual, I think the hype both set me up for disappointment and got my hopes up to high. I kind of wish they'd stuck with the original title, Men who hate women. I think it would have kept it under the radar more and I could have enjoyed it at what it was, a mystery about a missing girl.

4 - My least favorite character was the wunderkind favorite of the critics, the investigator, Lisbeth. I think she was set up with an appealing set of quirks and she certainly had reasons for her odd detachment with the world, but I think her persistence in acting mentally challenged just made her seem goofy. She could have been standoffish and lacking in social skills and still been appealing but instead, I kept getting annoyed.
5 - The big reveal and spoiler in the middle of the book surprised me, it was the logical ending to the book, the fact that it continued with the other plot for another hundred pages or so was kind of odd. It worked fine for  the novel, but now I want to see the movie and how they let it play out there. If I had been in charge of the script, I'd find myself making the two storylines converge a lot closer together.


by Jonathan Maberry
2007, 480 pages, ebook

1 - The second book in the Pine Deep series takes us deeper into the evil that permeates the ground of the tiny Pennsylvania town, and expands on the battle between light and dark.

2 - I got a kick out of the first Pine Deep book, Ghost Road Blues, but this installment was better. Better pacing, better twists, and Maberry is really ramping up to something big in the third installment.
3 - Which was my main complaint about the book, it reads like a second of three books. There's a good amount of catch up in the beginning and the end can barely be called that, it's more of a back cover inserted between chapters. And I can't wait to read the next one, which is already downloaded to my nook and waiting for me, thank goodness. 

4 - If Jonathan Maberry was as big as Stephen King, and I think he could be better than King in many respects, he could have released this as one volume. A massive, wicked epic.
5 - Dead Man's Road takes some conventional horror tropes and sneaks them in when you least expect it. Even when I knew something was coming, he manages to keep it entertaining and fresh.


Writing - 

I worked a while on my zombie novel the last couple of days, but it's hard to get in the head of people hiding in a drug store in Montana in the middle of October, surrounded by zombies, when you're sitting on a porch in Maine surrounded by hummingbirds and crickets in the middle of August.

The Last Sentence -

 I've got a pretty good chunk of company around the front that's noticed my buddy here.

From - "Graves" (WIP)


Bradmouth said...

Micro Machine color books?! Sweet

"Men Who Hate Women." Ha. Good one

Let me know if you'd ever like to contribute an article over at I think you'd fit in.

theBrad (verla tag))

The Grows said...

Okay what a dumb commercial. I love the tiny giraffe though. Thanks for sharing the pictures of your travels this weekend. I always enjoy seeing what you have seen.

Kristopher and Crew said...

Thanks for coming by, Brad! I'll have to check your site out. Thanks!

And I love the commercial, but the tiny giraffe is the best part.