29.10.14

Emily Carroll's Margot's Room



I was wandering around the net when on the Io9 site, I came across an article about comic fantasy and horror artist Emily Carroll.  Intrigued I searched for her website and discovered a very creepy collection of short comics that packed a mean punch.

Read the ghoulish Margot's Room HERE.

On io9 they have an exclusive horror comic from Carroll's recent book, Through the Woods.


You can check out the exclusive story HERE.

Its amazing how much creepiness, horror and disturbing imagery that Carroll manages to pack into just a page or two or three in these very short stories.

Check them out for spooky Halloween fun.

21.10.14

Another social media site?

A while back I deleted a few of my social media sites (Twitter was one) simply because I did not have enough time or inclination to update them.  I swore that I wouldn't sign up for another one and this blog was quite enough.

However I saw 8tracks on another blog that I follow and it intrigued me.  And....I signed up.

So now I will hawk my playlist.



8tracks allows you to create "mixtapes" of 8 or more songs in a kind of personal radio setup.

Will I keep making mixes?  Who knows?

13.10.14

Beyond 10 evolution




The past year since I wrote a few posts about my exercise plans, things became a little crazy for me.

Since I'm getting older, and not younger, I noticed that I've had to make diet changes.  I've always had allergies since I was a child but lately they have been making a more aggressive appearance. This led to a massive reinvention in my eating habits.  I had to give up soda, juice, fast food, and prepared foods.  Basically I have had to eat as clean as possible.  However, I didn't turn this into a dieting plan. I didn't stop eating cake and cookies.  But when I did want cake and cookies, I made it myself.  I think I've spent a small fortune in flour, sugar and eggs.  My sweet tooth will not be denied!

Despite not being on a diet, I was amazed to watch 10 pounds melt off my frame without a problem and without hunger.  Maybe there is something to the stories about preservatives and additives causing people to gain or hold weight.  That being said, the change in diet wasn't easy.  It is hard watching people enjoy a little junk food knowing that I need to avoid it.  But I've become philosophical about it all.  In the grand scheme of things, not eating Doritos again is no big sacrifice. And as the months go by I miss them less and less.  The same could be said for Mcdonalds, Wendy's, Applebies and other fast food places. 

Since my first 10 in 10 Callanetics post, I've been working out sporadically.  Just enough to keep myself from becoming creaky again but not enough to make a world of difference shape wise.  But since my last round of weight loss, I noticed that things were just looking droopy.  It was depressing.  So I decided to do the Callanetics 10 in 10 again to see if it could make a quick difference.

Yes, it did make a difference even more than the last time.  My arms were affected the most, that soft part under the arms is almost completely gone.  I have nice definition now in my arms but without bulky muscle.  As before I saw the first changes in my legs, I'm not sure if others have the same experience, but the program shows the most initial changes in the legs.  In my last 10 in 10, I didn't see too much difference in my backside, hips and tummy.  At the time they looked more compact but there were no major changes.  This time, with less weight, the changes were amazing.  I lost one clothing size without losing more weight.  The love handles I have are disappearing.  My stomach is flatter and the hip bones are starting to appear.  I've noticed that I have less back pain as my stomach muscles are now stronger and lending more support to my frame.  All in all I'm extremely happy with the changes Callanetics has given me.  I'm never going to be a string bean, but being comfortable in my own body is something worth working toward.

After my 10 hours, I decided to take a look at a more modern version of Callanetics.  Callanetics Evolution was developed by Callan Pinckney with assistance of instructors trained in her original method.  The program is a mix of more intense exercises along with old favorites from the original program.  The first thing I noticed about the Evolution program was that it was tougher, a lot tougher than the original.  Although the program instructors state that they show variations for a beginner, the beginner in this program is still advanced in my opinion.  Hence I wouldn't recommend this video to people just starting out in Callanetics.  If you are a true beginner, get the old DVD led by Callan herself.  It is best to start this video after you've completed at least 10 hours of the original program.

One of the reasons why I think it is tougher is because it relies more on the Lotte Berk original inspiration exercises.  Pinckney was a student of Berk until she broke away and redesigned Berk's program for people with weak backs.  However the Lotte is back in Callanetics Evolution and without too many changes.  I've done Berk's unaltered program and her exercises are true muscle burners.  The standing leg exercises with leg pulses in this DVD are pure Lotte.  They burn.  You will feel a bit weak after them.  The stretching in this version of the program is not as absolute as in Callan's original program.  So there will be muscle soreness after completion.  But don't be discouraged by this news. Technically this program works faster than the original.  I noticed an immediate change in my backside and thighs.  So this program is worthy.  It is just not the same as the original.

I've decided to interchange between them for the next 10 classes.  By the end of October, once I complete my 20, I will give some more updates.

1.10.14

I'm in the mood and lets never stop!



The sick puppy who programs the music at my favorite morning breakfast spot is at it again.  This time not so boldly.  Obviously they received complaints about the 80's era love fest mix and Cupid's wings were clipped.

But now...now its much more on the down low...if you could call it that.

Whatever happened to that nice Bossa Nova album they used to play with one of the selections being the benign Girl from Ipanema?

Now the current track begins with I'm in the mood for love sung by some Spanish crooner.  This song is completely ruined as a love song for me.  Because it makes me immediately flash back to childhood, running home from school in order to catch The Little Rascals on the tube.  It was Alfalfa's calling card. Yep, those were the days.

After this selection, the mix immediately segues into Let's Never Stop Falling in Love.

And I begin to silently curse the demon who chose the music that starts the day in this cafeteria.

Luckily that is as far as the evil progresses because the love songs end.  Its the small favors that are the most cherished.

But please let whoever is programming the music to stop...please stop falling for the sake of my sanity.

25.9.14

The Bad Seed - William March



I put this book on order at the library because I loved the film and wanted to read the novel it was based upon.

The film version is really a filmed version of the Broadway hit play.  It hits some high notes from the fabulous performances of the cast, in particular Patty McCormick and Eileen Heckart (she and McCormick later revealed how emotionally wrenching these roles were for them) to the creepy moments of Leeroy's demise.  The film is also a bit awkward since it is obviously based on a play and staged in a play like fashion.  It would have been nice to see the film expand on the book's world.

Suffice to say, the play (and in relation the film) really sugar coated March's novel.  March's book is a study in paranoia, hysteria, horror and isolation.  Everything on top is nice, sweet and suburban but as it progresses March reveals the deviance inside all of the characters not just Rhoda.  As he keeps pulling away the veils, a distinct unclean feeling pervades the world and the reader.

In this sea of decay, Rhoda Penmark swims around like a shark.  The character, disconnected from Patty McCormick's pretty face, is a silent, malignant presence.  She only speaks in platitudes but when she finally reveals her true thoughts, it is quite frightening.  The canny March keeps Rhoda as a cipher instead focusing on her mother.  As Christine Penmark comes to deal with Rhoda's true nature, and in turn goes insane dealing with it, the book contracts as Christine retreats from the festering world outside her doors.  Far from running away from her past, her present and the future, Christine becomes what she fears.  She takes her place in a line of murderesses...a bad seed.

If you can handle the extremely ghoulish, then this book won't disappoint.

11.9.14

The Silkworm - JK Rowling

I just finished the latest crime series novel by JK Rowling.

Sigh.

The woman continues to show her ability to write a good plot hook AND fill the book with her own twisted morality.

This is why I refuse to give the woman monetary support by buying her novels (I only read library copies or borrow from friends) and her other book merchandise tie-ins.

Her latest post Harry Potter character, Cormoran Strike, is very interesting if a bit of a paper doll. Ever eager to toady to the latest politically correct cause, Rowling has made her new hero a war veteran.  He even lost his leg in action.  Despite making a big deal how scarred her character is due to his war experiences, the Strike books (both this novel and the previous The Cuckoo's Calling) NEVER make any comment on Afghanistan/Iraq wars.  Strike never has an opinion on the validity of the wars.  He never has an opinion on the politicians who are war hawks.  His war experience only comes up to extort sympathy from the reader.  Rowling plays the "Lets Support the Troops!" card but is too cowardly or craven to take a stand for or against wars against Muslims.

Her female characters are also wildly off kilter.  The lead female, Strike's assistant Robin, is very smart and resourceful.  She is woefully saddled with a pill of a fiance.  But she has a fiance and that is important!  Robin is surrounded by broken female characters who are suffering from hysteria mostly due to having no strong male husbands or boyfriends.  Rowling has Strike call one major character limited simply because she never married, had children or had numerous lovers.  This character is also portrayed as manly and unattractive.  Of course ugly people don't have sex and therefore suffer hysteria and major psychotic breaks from it!  It doesn't matter that said character had developed her own business and a place in high society strata.  In Rowling's world lack of penis in vagina makes you limited.  The woman is positively victorian in her outlook.

But she is good in planning a story and a hook.  The mystery story line kept me guessing and the clues were very nicely placed.  Rowling is also an ace at the misdirect ploy.

I just wish she would come out of the conservative closet and be what she is not pretend to be liberal. I could respect her more that way.

26.8.14

More Past



My last post had me remembering my babyhood in the 70's.  I found the above video short filmed in the 70's.  Aside from Guiliani/Bloomberg homogenization there is not too much difference between then and now.  But the faces have changed, there was a unpretentious quality to folks back then.  Unlike now, the city seems filled with posers.

On a side note, I can't believe the clothing.  It looks as if the ugly clothing donation truck made a drop off and everyone grabbed something to wear.  I like the 70's time period but this film reminds me that most times people were stuck with some really awful clothing.