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Responses to this rant
Dandy   Monday, 1/23/2017 11:02 AM
Bart   Monday, 1/23/2017 2:47 PM
Older rants
Nov 14, 2017   Grace Vanderwaal - Just the Beginning
Nov 11, 2017   Tim Powers Signing at Mysterious Galaxy for Down and Out in Purgatory
November 4, 2017   Return to Disneyland, Halloween at the office, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Long Cosmos Maximus One year After War Dogs, Killing Titan Daddy, Stop Talking
October 29, 2017   Bruce Campbell Signing, Hail to the Chin, Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor
October 20, 2017   Meg & Dia, Imagine Dragons in concert, 2 Years 8 months and 28 Nights
October 17, 2017   All Apologies
October 16, 2017   Thrawn
Septempber 7, 2017   The Rage of Dragons, The Lincoln Myth
August 10, 2017   The Molly Ringwalds, Dia Frampton Musical awesomeness, Beauty and the Feast
July 28, 2017   The IT Sweatshop revisited, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, American Gods and The Magicians, Rogue One, Camino Island
July 24, 2017   CRV glovebox difficulties, San Diego Comic Con rant
July 11, 2017   Beauty and the Beast at the Lyceum, Earthweeds, Sons of Neptune Book 1, Aftermath, Empire's End, If Chin's Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor
June 30, 2017   Eastwood: No Direction Home book 2
June 23, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 4/4) - The PCH family vacation tale concludes, my new record, record player, and Emeli's site is live!
Jun 14, 2017   A noteworthy eBook mention before I return to my vacation ranting - No Direction Home
June 9, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 3/4) - The PCH family vacation tale concludes...almost. More pictures of spooky old houses, trees, rocks, and other things that nobody cares about! Plus, Goonies stuff
June 2, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 2/4) - The PCH family vacation tale continues... And more pictures of trees and other things that nobody cares about!
May 31, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 1/4) - Way more detail than anyone wants about our vacation up the coast of California and Oregon. And lots of pictures of trees!
Apr 26, 2017   Resurrection America, Pizza Studio art, AmandaLynn, Emeli art, and Disney art, and Gifted
Apr 14, 2017   My San Fransisco OSI PI adventure & "Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be"
Apr 12, 2017   Neil Gaiman speaks, Norse Mythology, American Gods comic adaptation, The Magicians TV series, and Dirk Gently on TV
Feb 2, 2017   A trip to the ever-less-magical land of Disney, The Prince of Outcasts, the Whistler, and a brief mention of The Magicians.
Jan 21, 2017   An update to my nerd wall at work, Found out about Richard Thompson (Cul De Sac) being gone, A list of all the stuff (or most, anyway) I've given up to new homes, A review of Dave! and Warp, and a couple of new doodles.
Dec 23, 2016   My final visit to Potterland and a couple of doodles
Dec 11, 2016   Books and related comics, and free/cheap stuff. Not taco Bell Material, President Me, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, The Hedge Knight (comic), The Sworn Sword (comic) Ooma, Ringplus, Amazon prime and other money-saving stuff.
Dec 4, 2016   I'm sharing my sad doodles with the world again. They're not very good, but I'll bet they're better than your scribbles!
Nov 12, 2016   Yet another trip to The Wonderful World of Harry Potter!
Nov 7, 2016   Blathering on about a few of the books I've read recently - Spire, The Check, and Dangercide, Pirate Detective
Oct 7, 2016   Yet another Visit to Harry Potterland. Oh, and my lease-mileage calculator.
July 25, 2016   Another Visit to Harry Potterland, a new car, a new shirt, a new dog, and a whole lot of the same old complaining
May 17, 2016   Email spoofers, Phishing emails, and scammers galore!
Apr 30, 2016   Winter's Edge and a Management zombie attack
Apr 23, 2016   Harry Potter land re-visited
Apr 9, 2016   Xenia...again
Apr 2, 2016   Sing Street, Batman vs Superman, Craigslist griping
Mar 1, 2016   The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hollywood preview, fun at work, Xenia's new song, A Vanishing Glow, Our Fair Eden, Race Wars, The Force Awakens
Jan 27, 2016   Text Wars, Books I've read... Yup, that's pretty much it
Jul 30, 2015   Xenia Martinez news Still selling stuff on eBay, Hyperbole and a Half (the book), The Path Between the Seas, Trigger Warning, In Fifty years We'll all Be Chicks
Mar 17, 2015   Selling my treasures on eBay, Hyperbole and a Half, the Long Mars, Gray Mountain, Anathem, The Golden Princess, The Given Sacrifice
Mar 12, 2015   You'll be sorely missed, Sir Terry
Jan 21, 2015   More BBC 4 radio dramatizations by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett: The Amazing Maurice, Guards! Guards!, Neverwhere, Night Watch, Small Gods, Wyrd Sisters
Jan 10, 2015   JabberWocky, Neil Gaiman style!
Dec 24, 2014   The Good Omens BBC treatment
Aug 03, 2014   Every hobby has to end eventually, right?
Oct 8, 2013   Warning: Extreme Geekness ahead!
Oct 1, 2013   The Bloody Crown of iGoogle
Aug 26, 2013   Headphones at work
Aug 22, 2013   The guvmint is gonna getcha
June 25, 2013   Dweebs vs Big Bang vs IT Crowd
Jul 3, 2012   Xenia Martinez & Dia Frampton concert
Feb 24, 2012   Reading...just not much
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Being an idiot with Lev Grossman
Jan 7, 2012   If it ain't broke...
Aug 22, 2011   non-ComicCon report 2011
A Thousand Splendid Suns
An Act of Self Defense
May 5, 2011   On Stranger Tides
vs.
On Stranger Tides
March 2, 2011   I'm a gigantic slacker...
Ikariam
Wild Guns
Lord of Ultima
Metin 2
Lord of the Rings Online
Dec 15, 2010   Bring out your dead!
Aug 17, 2010   San DiegoComicCon 2010
August 11, 2010   I'm not dead yet...
May 3, 2010   Hero Comics
Liberty Comics
Dr Horrible
Neil Gaiman & Sam Keith in Batman
The Guild, Felicia Day
April 27, 2010   Mean Gene Wilder! Grrr!!!
April 24, 2010   If it's not one Jihad, it's another...
April 20, 2010   The Satanic Verses
March 15, 2010   Unseen Academicals
Feblueberry 8, 2010   The un-reading shelf (from most of 2009)
Feblueberry 2, 2010   Emily the Strange, the Lost Days...a novel
Nov 25, 2009   Happy Halloween, Mom!
Nov 18, 2009   Summer Vacation in Idaho
Aug 20, 2009   San Diego ComicCon 2009
Aug 12, 2009   I'm a big, fat slacker
June 05, 2009   The networks are helping me cut back on my TV viewing
June 04, 2009   Mandy Moore's Amanda Leigh,
Chris Isaak's Mr Lucky
and
My name is Bruce?
and Emmy Rossum? Where am I going with this?
May 21, 2009   Randy would have really liked Fanboys...sigh
May 3, 2009   The Spring reading shelf
Apr 21, 2009   Holidays On Ice (a little late for Christmas)
Apr 18, 2009   Leviticus Cross and other Hector Sevilla comic book stuff
Apr 16, 2009   The fantastically amazing and banal Badbartopia RSS Feed
Mar 31, 2009   Neil Gaiman's Blueberry Girl
Mar 30, 2009   My Amazon mis-order turns out to be not so annoying as previously expected...
(AKA the Dr Horrible soundtrack)
Mar 23, 2009   Stephan Pastis & Richard Thompson have me looking forward to the 2009 SD ComicCon
Mar 19, 2009   Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog,
The Guild
Mar 08, 2009   The Wonderful Wizard of Oz comic adaptation,
Neil Gaiman's Sandman: The Dream Hunters
Mar 04, 2009   Little Brother
Mar 1, 2009   Pete & Pickles
Feb 11, 2009   She & Him
Flakes
Pushing Daisies
Jan 26, 2009   The Scourge of God,
When You are Engulfed in Flames
Jan 14, 2009   On the Road = hippy nonsense
Jan 12, 2009   One-by-one, my fish have met their maker
Dec 26, 2008   My Azeroth-avoidance continues
Dec 23, 2008   Nothing to see...move along
Dec 15, 2008   New scribbles
Dec 10, 2008   The Oct-Nov-Dec reading shelf
Dec 1, 2008   Shalimar the Clown
the economic impact of the events in Mumbai
Nov 21, 2008   Star Wars: Allegiance
Nov 20, 2008   Daredevil Black Widow: Abattoir
Nov 17, 2008   Travel Team
Nov 16, 2008   A new comic adaptation of The Wizard of Oz
Nov 14, 2008   Berke's Books:
The Last Basselope
Edward Fudwupper Fibbed Big
Mars Needs Moms
Opus: 25 years
Nov 13, 2008   Return to Azeroth?
Nov 12, 2008   Goodbye, Opus
Oct 29, 2008   Halloween costumes of 2008
Project Superpowers
Marvels
Ruins
Oct 23, 2008   The Graveyard Book
Interworld
Oct 16, 2008   Nation
Oct 10, 2008   The Joy of Programming
My foray into Ajax
Oct 9, 2008   My Saturn Scare
Opus ends
Terry Pratchett's condition
Oct 3, 2008   The Hitchhiker's Guide, Book 6...by Eoin Colfer?
Oct 2, 2008   Media master - music online
Sony builds a "better" camera
Sept 24, 2008   The September reading shelf
Sept 17, 2008   Still missing Randall
The Fish tank...again
The Graveyard Book
Sept 15, 2008   Slacking...as usual
The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang
Sept 9, 2008   The dearth of Opus strips
yes, I meant to say "dearth"
Sept 8, 2008   A new monitor goes bad...but it all ends happily
Sept 3, 2008   A Boy and His Dog,
Richard Corben,
H.P. Lovecraft's Haunt of Horror
Sept 2, 2008   A slightly newish look
(aka "why I will never be a graphic designer")
Aug 11, 2008   Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in all its incarnations Mike Kunkel's re-imagining of Shazam
July 29, 2008   San Diego Comiccon 2008
July 24, 2008   Neil Gaiman
July 17, 2008   Chris Isaak!
June 30, 2008   The Woman Who Wouldn't
Legends II
Mouse Guard Fall 1152
the Jetta's latest round of repairs
fishtank overpopulation
June 10, 2008   The Reading Shelf
Fish tank jungle
Attack of the bees
June 3, 2008   Missing Randall
May 9, 2008   My French Whore
Apr 28, 2008   Fish tank fatality
Flight of the Conchords
The Dangerous Alphabet
Mar 5, 2008   Gene Wilder book signing at Borders
new fish tank
subpoenaed!
Jan 11, 2008   The Jetta Strikes back!
The Plucker
The Anubis Gates
National Treasure II
Nov 8, 2007   San Diego on Fire,
A clean break from WoW,
UCSD Extension Java I graduation (kinda)
Making Money
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Oct 2, 2007   Back to school, Java class at UCSD
AT&T's Uverse
new sketches
Blockbuster movie pass
August 28, 2007   Mandy Moore concert!
Aug 19, 2007   ComicCon 2007 - Neil Gaiman, Iron Man and all the usual suspects
May 22, 2007   World of Spamcraft (and other spamalicious topics), forum fun...gus, the woes of being a contractor and PIRATES!!
Apr 5, 2007   I'm a conservative - bite me!
Timbaland? Dumb!
Marie Antoinette - snaggle teeth and teasing glimpes. Sweet!
John Q - a lesson about fatherhood or a liberal-propoganda film?
Mar 30, 2007   Things that make me grumpy-er,
employed again at last,
Finn and assorted other ramblings
Feb 8, 2007   The search for employment continues..and the unemployment benefits are NOT pouring in!
Jan, 22, 2007   Freed from the bondage of employment, a very brief review of a few books and films
Dec 17, 2006   Sad excuses, The Innocent Man, 1776, THe Man in High Castle, Absolute Sandman, Wintersmith, garage sale treasures: Ghost in the Machine
Aug 20, 2006   Writers of the Future XXII/Tim Powers, more movie reivews
July 20, 2006   San Diego ComicCon 2006
July 15, 2006   Superman Returns, inconsiderate morons, Peewee's Playhouse returns, my plea for more pirate movies
July 8, 2006   Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Wild Animal Park critters, site remodeling
Jun 27, 2006   The good, the bad and the mediocre (a bunch of movie reviews in the new forum).
June 15, 2006   Because of Romek - A Holocaust Survivor's Memoir
May 21, 2006   The DaVinci Code, Aeon Flux, Everything You Want
May 12, 2006   World of Warcrack, the Office, Coraline, my apologies...
Jan 24, 2006   Christmas Vacation 2006, Syriana, Traveling Pants, Wish You Were Here
Dec 19, 2005   Festive Neighbors, the death of Olivia, Media Misinformation surrounding Brent Wilkes/ADCS, Make Love the bruce campbell way
Nov 15, 2005   Microsoft Technet 2005 launch party, Lexmark printer problem, a bad, bad day, changing dentists.
Oct 22, 2005   Thud!, Anansi Boys, Where's my cow
Oct 18, 2005   Terry Pratchet Thud! signing, Neil Gaiman Anansi Boys signing
Oct 15, 2005   A very, very late Comiccon 2005 report.
Jun 23, 2005   The black hole of Warcraft, The Years of Rice and Salt, After the Sunset, Madagascar, Mr and Mrs Smith, Taxi.
Jun 3, 2005   All is quiet on the PM Front, War of the Worlds (the novel), Kingdom of Heaven, Sahara, Star Wars Episode III, Flight of the Phoenix
May 9, 2005   The program managers strike again, More of my horrendous sketches, Spanglish, A Lot Like Love, Elektra, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the film)
Apr 9, 2005   Stuck in Corporate Hell, a few of my recent sketches, Miss Congeniality 2, Collateral
Mar 21, 2005   Revenge of the Jetta (car problems), a Newegg purchase, a few new drawings, more Opus
Feb 13, 2005   The Mail mystery solved, more of my crappy sketches, A few new photos of the girls, bill-bert (introducing the new Project Manager), sweet phone skills, Opus, Dungeons and Dragons, In Good Company
Jan 27, 2005   Mystery mail, new photos of my beautiful kids, some new sketches, an Episode 3 spoiler, Opus, Going Postal, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Ubik, Remember the Titans, Lemony Snicket`s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Dodgeball
Jan 7, 2005   Christmas 2004, Update to the site, Elf & King Arthur revisited, National Treasure, Opus, Blade Runner
Dec 18, 2004   A new Stephanie sketch, another Target web page goof, the SD Union Tribune confirms Greg Bear`s research for Vitals, Miramar VW proves my dealer service assertions wrong, neighborhood Christmas fun, Opus
Nov 24, 2004   More of my mediocre drawings, nw russian mail-order coins, Star Wars toys, a big green spider comes to visit, Opus, Dies the Fire, Digital fortress, The Incredibles, Twisted, Van Helsing
Nov 03, 2004   Some thoughts regarding the 2004 election, rants about the environment, a memory rebate update, new computer issues, Opus, The Lone Drow, Deception Point, Roswell season 2 on DVD
Oct 12, 2004   An interesting quiz, mal-in rebates, a parrot joke, my new computer, thoughts on frame removal, web logs, Opus, Vitals, Star Wars trilogy on DVD, Ladykillers
Sep 23, 2004   My "Heath" sketch for Mark Oakley, an update on my a PNY rebate check, the fictitious AWNA Act, Browser Issues with the site, Opus/Pickles, The DaVinci Code, Garden State (Natalie Portman), Man on Fire
Sep 11, 2004   A new drawing: "Stephanie", redneck wisdom, my salary to hourly reclassification, funny video: news from iraq, an update on my mail-in pny rebate, a new rebate through Costco, Ella Enchanted, Highlander Endgame, Princess of Thieves, The Whole Ten Yards
Aug 27, 2004   Fun with my VW Warranty, Opus, Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix, The Land of SokMunster, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Wedding, Napoleon Dynamite, Hidalgo, Chasing Liberty, Out of Time
Jul 23, 2004   San Diego ComicCon 2004, the family summer vacation, Bruce Campbell, Opus, Nanny Ogg`s Cookbook, Angels & Demons, Folk of the fringe, Bourne Supremacy, i robot, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Cody Banks 2, Hellboy
Jul 19, 2004   *** PNY Rebate fun, IE Patch, Linux and socialism, liberal scum, Opus, BIM, timeline, master and commander, tad hamilton, stuck on you,cold mountain, 50 first dates, the terminal, spiderman 2, king arthur, a hat full of sky, the thousand orcs, meditations on middle earth
Jun 20, 2004   Memorial day pictures, Duplex, Mark Oakley/Heroes, Wild Animal Park Dinosaurs, B-52s concertman, Say After Tomorrow, Big Fish, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Eragon, A Hat Full of Sky, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
May 08, 2004   Pat Tillman, LOTR Toys, 13 Going on 30, Mean Girls, Tolkien Miscellany, Last Juror, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Pork Tornado
Apr 06, 2004   Roswell season 1 DVD and a some other mindless drivel
Feb 19, 2004   Highlander site contest results, new downloads, princess gallery updates, lord of the rings toys, harry potter, underworld. lost in translation, the hunted, a tolkien miscellany...
Feb 09, 2004   Murder at 1600, Radio, Cheaper by the Dozen, King Arthur, Spiderman 2, Van Helsing, Harry Potter, Tolkien Miscellany, Mark Oakley, massive snow in Idaho...
Jan 28, 2004   Swat, Uptown Girls, Somethings Gotta Give, Along Came Polly, Seabiscuit, Ashley Judd Marathon, Van Helsing, Harry Potter, Science Fiction Bok Club, Nanny Ogg`s Cookbook, RA Salvatore, Mythology (Alex Ross), Fastner & Larson, Best page in the universe, etc, etc...
Jan 07, 2004   Clint`s rules, X-Men 2, Holes, Pirates, Two Towers, Freaky Friday (Haley Hudson), new drawings, Thieves` World, Playskool Star Wars, new Interest section
Jan 02, 2004   nothing all that interesting...
Dec 21, 2003   Nemo, Highlander page, Christmas vacation 2003, star wars kid
Dec 12, 2003   E.T. (Erika Eleniak), new drawings, Opus, Santa Claus 2 (Elizabeth Mitchell), Legolas toy/pics, How to Deal (Mandy Moore), Myth update, Last Samurai
Nov 27, 2003   Another Fine Myth, Elf
Nov 22, 2003   Dude, Where`s Bill & Ted
Nov 18, 2003   Not much to say
Nov 15, 2003   Disneyland, Astronaut`s Wife, Dumer and Dumber-er, Monstrous Regiment
Nov 10, 2003   Terry Pratchett, Matrix Revolutions
110103   School of Rock, Terry Pratchett signing, Darth Vader MBNA bust, San Diego fires
Aug 17, 2003   Johnny English, San Diego Comic-Con
Jun 17, 2003   Assorted ramblings
May 28, 2003   Not much to say
May 24, 2003   Almost nothing of note
May 17, 2003   Matrix Reloaded, Pirates
Mar 23, 2003   The Police, Pirates, Lord of the Rings grievances part II
Mar 16, 2003   Lord of the Rings grievances part 1
Super auld stuff   A big list of old submissions with boat loads of broken links

Nerd! Nerd! Nerd!

I decided it was time to change up the comics on my cubicle wall so I put up the first 7 issues of Dark Horse's Conan. The Joe Linsner covers are awesome. I actually had to skip issue #2 because the Frost Giant's Daughter cover is a little too risque for the office. So I have #1, #0, then #3-#7 on the wall

Speaking of things nerdly, nobody has been buying my comics or toys on eBay for the past few months, but here's a tribute to the many treasures that I have said goodbye to over the past couple of years...




Cul De Sac / Richard Thompson

While looking for a new calendar and hoping for a Cul De Sac desk calendar to adorn my cubicle (like the one I had several years ago), I discovered that Richard Thompson, the artist of Cul de Sac (that has sadly never been published in a local newspaper), died in July of last year. Richard Thompson was a guest at ComicCon many years ago, which is where I discovered and fell in love with his wacky world. I'm part Petey.

While I'm not feeling a Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams level of loss, I am sad. And confused. The Cul De Sac comic strips have continued appearing online since he stopped creating them on September 23, 2012 (it had a five-year run). You would probably think I would have noticed the repeats, but maybe that's part of this strip's greatness. The humor is so well-crafted that it's always funny, even if it does feel familiar. The strip linked above was posted on December 29, but when I recently looked more closely at the date in the comic itself and realized it was from 2008.


Dave!, Marc Richard

I was contacted by another author trying to generate some positive feedback for one of his books. The author in this case was Marc Richard, and the book was Dave! (the first trilogy). I was told that my review of one of Terry Pratchett's books brought me to his attention. The book was described by the author thus: "It has aliens, politics, and lots of humor. It has been called Douglas Adams meets South Park, or If Christopher Moore had a job at the Cartoon Network writing for Adult Swim."

The back cover of the book provides this glimpse into the book's plot:

Can a horde of nobodies save the world?
Starlet Richter is your typical transgender woman living in the good ol' U.S of A.
The country is in ruins after President Gibson enshrouds it in his wall, and seals it off from the outside world.
After years of watching the place fall apart, she decides it's time to do something about it. She's going to help tear down that wall!

Eric Tisdsale is Starlet's long-lost love.
He's making a pretty mundane living as a pool shark, until one phone call changes everything.
He's asked to join the Invaders, a secret society led by a charismatic and flawlessly handsome dude named Dave.
Their mission: destroy the forces in D.C. and take the country back.

Both have their plans.
Both are in danger.
Will they save each other? Themselves? The country?
How about when they discover the president is not actually human, and there may be more of his kind hiding among us?

DAVE! is a science fiction comedy that features fast-paced action, pie-throwing clowns, nudists, and lots and lots of aliens.
Equal parts Hitchhiker's Guide and Coen Brothers, this series will have you laughing your way through the apocalypse!

The Douglas Adams/Hitchhiker's Guide comparison immediately piqued my interest. I thought the book's summary on Amazon sounded more like Billy Pilgrim's misadventures in Slaughterhouse Five than Arthur Dent's romp through the Galaxy, but I went through a Vonnegut phase many moons ago and read everything by Vonnegut I could find, so that didn't dampen my enthusiasm.

Sadly, the book wasn't all that I'd hoped it might be. It started out a little bit weird (email correspondence between many of the book's characters - including the author himself, who thought it would be fun to plug himself several times in the book) before becoming less weird, yet no more well-written. It didn't help that the story is a liberal's vision of the absolute worst-case scenario for the United States of 'Merica. I don't know if he came up with the story when Donald Trump ran for president in 2012 or if the Trump-then-Mel-Gibson presidency idea was inspired from the Donald's second, more successful, attempt to become president in 2016, or if he's just a little bit psychic and dreamed the story up well before the Donald ever expressed any interest in the Presidency. Prescience aside, there's not much here. Maybe I'm just not the demographic the book is shooting for (old heterosexual white guy), but I found few redeeming qualities in the book.

I'm not one to turn my nose up at a good story with aliens, conspiracy theories, underground rebellions against a tyrannical government, and just a little bit of dystopian mayhem thrown in for good measure. And this book did include all of the above. Plus an overabundance of profanity. And I do mean overabundance. Man, there were a lot of words starting with the letter "F" in this book. And they were pretty much all the same word. With four letters. In addition to the profanity, it also excluded anything resembling a well-told story. The author seemed to be much more interested in trying to shock the reader with left-wing stereotypes than trying to paint a picture with his words. If this is what the future holds from millennial authors, I'm glad I already have a full library of classics to choose from.

On the positive side, the book was pretty well-edited. There were only a few errors that crept into the text.

In summary, while I'm not telling you not to read this book, I'm definitely not suggesting you should.


Warp, Lev Grossman

Immediately after finishing Dave!, I quickly started Warp to cleanse my mental palate. Warp is one of the few non-Magicians books I'm aware of by Lev Grossman (the only other one I've read/know of is Codex). It's as well-written as one would expect from the author of The Magicians. A quick, enjoyable read.

If you were fond of The Catcher in the Rye in High School (as I was), I have some good news for you. Holden Caulfield is back....kinda. This story takes place 50 years later, the protagonist's name is Hollis, and he's an unemployed college graduate with too much time on his hands. Hollis will not only seem familiar to those of us who grew up with Holden Caulfield, but also to those of us who have a affinity for Albert Camus's Mersault. And there's maybe just a little bit of Quentin Coldwater in Hollis, too. The story takes place in Boston and as someone who has spent no time in either New York City or Boston, Boston feels pretty much interchangeable with New York to me. I was considering blathering on about Hollis's characteristics that resemble Holden's, Mersault's, and Quentin's, but I figure nobody will care and even I'm beginning to lose interest in that topic...

One thing about the book that's both interesting and just a little bit distracting is the barrage of book/TV/movie quotes and flashbacks (I think) interspersed in the text. One of the chapters ends with a whole scene from Star Trek The Next Generation, complete with dialogue from Data, Picard, Crusher, and Troi. I'm not sure if these are glimpses into a slightly schizophrenic brain that won't stay anchored in reality, or if this was just Hollis's way of relating the world around him to the fictional worlds he lived in (very Quentin-like, if that's the case), or if maybe this was just a literary device used by the author to stretch out and liven up the prose. I guess that's left for the reader to decide.

Here is an example of what I'm referring to (the gray text is the book quote/TV quote/movie quote/flashback).

    The bell rang, and the doors opened directly onto the office anteroom: apparently the company owned the whole floor. It was decorated like an old-fashioned cloakroom, with wood paneling and an umbrella stand. He walked through it into a reception area, which was painted a stylish, soothing rose color. The receptionist, a young woman with brown hair, looked up when he came in.

I am an android. Doctor. I am incapable of experiencing fear.

    She was sitting on an uncomfortable-looking orthopedic chair with no back, wearing a headset phone. "Can I help you?" she said.

Why, Mr. Kessler is one of our most valuable clients.

    Hollis cleared his throat.
    "I'm looking for Eileen Cavanaugh."
    "I'll see if she's free," said the woman,
    She switched to an intercom and politely lowered her voice.
    "Darcy? ls Eileen there? There's someone out here to see her."
    She listened for an answer, then looked back up at Hollis.
    "Your name?" she said.

Call me Ishmael.

    He cleared his throat.
    "Scotty."
    She waited For a moment for Hollis to give a last name, but when he didn't she just said "Scotty" into the headset, then stopped and listened again, tapping her pen.

And another.
...
in a tuxedo was doing tricks with ropes and knots in the middle of a ring of spectators. The peripheral highway that ran along the docks came up suddenly, only a block past the market. There was nowhere to cross it legally, but he waited on the shoulder for a while for a break in traffic, surrounded by broken glass and black, charred-looking blowout pads.

"You can't ride back in the rain, Hollis. Wait a few minutes."
"l can't exactly stay here. can I?" he said bitterly. "Anyway. it's not raining anymore."
"Yes, it is."
"No, it isn't."
Eileen went over to the window and pulled up the blinds. They looked out through the black bars of the fire escape. Night was falling.
"Is it?" said Hollis. "I can't really tell."
"l guess I can't tell either."
They listened for the sound of rain.
Anyway," she said. "Take an umbrella."

    The road cleared for a minute. He jogged across a few lanes of black asphalt worn shiny with age, jumped over a guardrail, and suddenly he was at the docks. Two enormous splintery gray timber wharfs jutted out into the harbor in front of him. The New England Aquarium stood at the end of them, on a double row of massive concrete pilings.
    A scum of Foam and floating trash bobbed around the base of the pilings, but farther out in the main harbor the water was blue and clean. The air was chilly. Seagulls wheeled and cried overhead. Hollis could see as far as Logan Airport on the far side of the bay, where every couple of minutes another plane took off or landed, weirdly out of sync with the roar of its engine because of the time...

The story ended a little more abruptly than I would have liked. Xanthe is still an enigma to me, the repercussions of Peters's peer pressure were left unexplored (sending the barely-ever-there Mersault to prison was the point of The Stranger, after all), and I wanted to know more about Eileen. But maybe that's all coming in Warp II: The Wrath of Caulfield.

One last thing before I go - a couple more doodles. They're not great, but they're pretty good. As always, the originals looked much cooler than these scans. But whatcha gonna do?

I still haven't finished re-reading The Magicians, but season 2 of The Magicians starts on SyFy in a few days so I guess I better get back to it so I can compare the original to the TV version with more authority. So far, everything I remember as being wrong when watching the TV version has been pretty-much spot on, though.



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