Bleh with Barry

Random with a cynical twist of lime.

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Kindle Publishing: A Forray

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So, recently, I’ve had a lot of people I know direct publish short stories and novels to the Kindle. So, I decided that I would try something, too. So, I found a story that I have been working on for quite a while and am currently testing the waters on Amazon.com. So, if you would like to read some of my stuff on your Kindle, I might recommend either downloading my short story “Why? A Ghost Story” or getting my blog sent directly to your device. As always, good luck and happy reading!

Buy my Short Story for only $0.99 :  http://www.amazon.com/Why-A-Ghost-Story-ebook/dp/B004RPS86M

Written by uncannynerdyguy

March 19, 2011 at 12:24 am

Amazon.com Reviews: Things to Think About if You Want to be Taken Seriously

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Recently, I have been doing quite a bit of purchasing on Amazon.com because of my classes that I’m taking (believe it or not, most libraries don’t have a lot of books on Native Women’s Literature…but anyway), and I have noticed several trends that the writers of reviews do that really unnerve me…Honestly, I even mentioned some of them in rants to one of my classes because they were that bad. So, without further ado, the things that annoy me in Amazon reviews.

1) Know WTF you’re talking about–If you don’t know what happens in the movie, book, etc., don’t feel obligated to write a review about it. I don’t give a crap about your philosophical scruples concerning certain ideologies that might or might not be in the work that you’re talking about (again…if you haven’t watched the movie, you can’t have an educated opinion of the matter)…I hate for people to express their opinion on something that they don’t have a clue about…let’s face it, it’s pretty annoying overall.

2) Don’t criticize an item’s validity simply because you had a bad experience with the seller or you’re unsatisfied with   the packaging– I don’t know how many 1-star or 2-star ratings that I’ve seen that bring down the items overall rating of an item simply because people are pissed off at people who have nothing to do with the creative quality of the item…if you have a complaint to lodge about the shipping or something like that, you should contact Amazon…not slander the product.

3) If you are going to write a review, try to punctuate, spell, and write with an appropriate tone–DON’T WRITE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, it’s annoying and causes people like me to think that you’re yelling at them…also dont type in all lower case without any hope of punctuation entering into the mix its really annoying too (FYI: these previous sentences were for effect. So, don’t revolt against me.) Moreover, try to spell to the best of your ability…most of you probably have a word processing program that will tell you if you are misspelling words or not. Copy and paste your text into it. This way, you come across in your writing as at least a semi-intelligent individual.

4) Try to be explicit in what you like or dislike in the  review your writing–If you say something like “This is the worst damn book ever,” you have made no valid argument as to why or why not I should listen to your review. Please, please, please, give us some sort of information to back up your ideas…simply because Bob Smith writes a review, it doesn’t mean that I should trust them…all I’m saying.

So, there are a few tips for you. I hope that they help everyone out there so that we can quite having reviews like “This is the werst movie I’ve ever sean.” Good luck and happy reviewing.

Written by uncannynerdyguy

March 5, 2011 at 12:44 am

Year of the Geek: Comic Book Movies of 2011

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I saw somewhere on the internet the other day (maybe it was my homepage…I’m not completely sure which is one of the pitfalls of reading news and such on the internet the majority of the time…but any way) that a lot of people are terming this year the year of the geek due to the excessive number of comic book movies coming out in the theaters this year. Honestly, I am excited about this year…does that mean I am a geek myself. I believe so because I am looking forward to watching several of the movies that will be coming out over the course of the year, and here are the few that I’m most interested in (and alright, I am a Marvel snob to some degree…so forgive me if a lot of the DC or Darkhorse stuff is missing from my assessment).

Thor–Directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman. This movie is promising to be one of the must see movies of the summer months. Following the storyline of one of the most prominent Marvel characters (which all of them are prominent in their own right), this movie is bringing us all one step closer to the promised Avengers movie that will be in theaters in 2012. What I am most interested in in this movie is how they are going to meld the scientific and the magical worlds that Marvel are known for. I know that in the movie trailer they are saying that science and magic are practically the same thing just us dumb humans using another name for something mystical. Yet, I’m still intrigued to see how far they go with this concept.

X-Men: First Class–As most of you know who read my blog on a regular basis, X-Men are the comic book heroes that are near and dear to my heart, so it probably doesn’t surprise you that I am anxious about this upcoming movie.  It does have a few good things going for it though. First, Matthew Vaughn is directing the movie and overall his other movies (Kick Ass, Stardust, and Layer Cake…all good movies). Then, you have Bryan Singer (the man who co-wrote and directed for the first two good X-Men movies) responsible for the story. Finally, you have several actors that are pretty good in the roles of some of our memorable characters (James McAvoy is Professor X, Kevin Bacon is Sebastian Shaw, and many more). I’m still holding my breath on the this one because we all know the debacle of the third movie. However, I’m trying to remain hopeful that this movie might help redeem the series from X3 and the Wolverine movie. Also, another side note, Wolverine will not be in this one unless it is a small cameo (Hooray! I don’t like him that much anyway).

Green Lantern–Okay, so, this is one of the few (if only) DC comic movie adaptation that appears here. I’m interested in this one because let’s face it Green Lantern is a pretty cool super hero. His powers are limited by the strength of his mind…so, yeah, he seems like he would be any intellectual’s go to super hero. Being played by Ryan Reynolds, I think this movie has potential if it is done right because like any other super hero movie it also has the potential to be sooooooo bad too.

Captain America: The First Avenger–Okay, so, I’m not a huge fan of Capt. However, I’m pretty excited about this movie because its release will be the last piece of the puzzle for the afore-mentioned Avengers movie. Chris Evans will be an okay Capt. (I’m not completely thrilled by his casting choice partially because he has already been a character in the Marvel-verse of movies), but I am really excited to see Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull. I think that he is going to be amazing at that. Why? Because he plays evil and off-beat characters well (look at Mr. Smith in the Matrix, V in V for Vendetta, etc)…I’m just excited overall.

So, these are just a sampling of the top things that I”m looking forward to. I’m also excited about Harry Potter and other things of that nature (not excited about Twilight). Looking forward to seeing Paul Bettany in Priest. Yet, I’m also not excited to see some others (like the Green Hornet for instance…I find Seth Rogen insufferable). However, there will be more to come of these other things in following days. Till then, adieu.

Interview with the Vampire: The Movie

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As you can probably tell from my blog, Anne Rice is one of my favorite authors, and her vampire chronicles are some of my favorite books (due to the vampire connection…also great characters and good plots…but yeah…). Anyway, recently I rewatched the movie from 1994. . .I have to say that it is a well done vampire film that deserves to rank among the top vampire films of all time. Why you may ask? Well, give me some time, and I’ll explain it to you.

1) Anne Rice wrote the screenplay. Whereas most book to film adaptations suck, Anne Rice effectively transfers the heart, soul, and life-blood of her narrative into the movie. It is one of the few adaptations that I have watched and felt pleased after the fact. I think this is due to the active participation of the author in creating the written dialogue.

2) The actors are amazing. I don’t know that any vampire movie that I have ever watched has the all-star cast of this one. With Tom Cruise as Lestat, Brad Pitt as Louis, and Kirsten Dunst as Claudia, the main characters are acted superbly. Brad Pitt captures the innocence and conflict of Louis. Cruise plays the charismatic and manipulative Lestat with wonderful effect. Finally, Dunst as Claudia is the cherry on top of the creepy sundae. With Stephen Rea (Santiago), Christen Slater (the Interviewer), and Antonio Banderas (Armand) rounding out the cast, the story comes alive in a way that only Neil Jordan (the director) and Anne Rice could have dreamed.

 

3) The human qualities of Anne Rice’s vampires have always intrigued me. Her vampires are not really supernatural creatures. Rather, they are just flawed human beings that end up being cursed (or blessed) to live for a long time. This longevity amplifies their human characteristics and makes them more vulnerable and more apt to fall. They exemplify our worst fears of what we might become…or what we might be…they are the mirror of ourselves…

While this movie may never be regarded as high brow, I will continue to love it. It is one of those movies that I can watch over and over again and fins something new each time I watch. Will I see Lestat in the “Theatre des Vampires?” Will Claudia be less of a little demon child?…I search for such questions each time knowing what will happen…but maybe I will watch the film a little differently each time…If you’re looking for a good vampire movie (and for God sakes nothing like Twilight or any of those movies), I would suggest that you go out and find this one.

For more info on the movie check out this IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110148/

Scary Movies

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I have always been a fan of scary movies from the time that I was a small child. I don’t know what it is about them that make me want to continue to watch. Do I want to be scared? Do I like the feeling of my heart beating hard in my chest? Honestly, I enjoy a little of both because there is nothing like a good scary movie to get the blood pumping and make you feel antsy while lying in your bed at night. So, for the blogosphere’s pleasure, I am going to give you a ranking of some of my favorite horror movies.

1) Misery. I recently watched this Stephen King adaptation about a superfan who acquires her favorite author and has him write for her. The role of the demented superfan won actress Kathy Bates an academy award (she is wonderfully crazy in the movie). It is the worst nightmare of anyone who has any aspirations in the artistic world. The believability of the movie makes it even more eerie as you think…what if this thing could happen…or has happened before?

2) Scream. The first of the 90’s slasher flicks, this series is fun because of the plausibility. They bring up pop culture with the “movies made me do it” defense and the teenagers killing their classmates. It is creepy and cool. With Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, and cameos by many actresses and actors, these movies came along at the right time. Also, with the fourth movie coming out in 2011, I am going to have to rewatch and enjoy them again.

3) Interview with the Vampire. Based on the novels by Anne Rice, this movie was one of the first to humanize vampires….it’s oddly unnerving when one sees the nuclear family onscreen with two vampire men and a vampire girl. It took the vampire genre to a new level and asked others to bring their product up to the same level (which none really have done)…The characters of Louie, Lestat and Claudia are all very believable from a human perspective and make us question our own humanity as we watch. It leaves us wondering about ourselves and the world that we live in.

4)Orphan. While I saw the ending of this movie from about the middle, I was creeped out when the finally reveile the big secret.  It is the story of a little girl with a trouble past who is adopted by a new family. It just seems that trouble follows her around…What is the deal with her?

5) Nosferatu (1922). Possibly the scariest version of the Dracula story that has ever been brought to film. It is a silent movie that relies on the actors to produce the creepy and scary factors. They do a great job of this considering the technology that they had to work with. Max Schreck makes the skin crawl as Count Orlock. He is inhuman and makes us wonder what might truly be out there in this weird world that we exist in.

I would recommend watching any of these movies if you want to be creeped out, be scared, or be entertained. All of them hold a special place in my Halloween heart, and I hope that you will find yourself crawling into your bed at night with fears of things that go bump in the night. Enjoy!

The Vampires of True Blood *Spoilery Things*

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I am interested in vampires in literature and the media. Anyone I know can tell you this about me…It’s one of the quirks that makes me who I am. So, I think that it’s only appropriate that I discuss the vampires of True Blood a little. What makes them tick and what differentiates them from the other “vampires” that exist in fiction today.

1) They exist on synthetic blood that was produced by the Japanese. It wasn’t until I started reading the Sookie Stackhouse Series or watching True Blood on HBO that I had remotely heard of this idea. I honestly think that it’s kind of brilliant. Why? The overarching idea that now vampires can exist without feeding on other living beings is actually a fun issue to tackle within the framework of any narrative.

They can potentially live off of the stuff. However, for the ones that are thousands of years old, will they actually make the change or continue to be the thief in the night? It also brings up a new level of discrimination amongst species (I don’t particularly see the vampire in fiction or folklore as “human” anymore while they still do have human likeness and tendencies). Even though they are more powerful physically and evolutionarily, the people in the books and the show have an immense hatred of the undead.

I think this is interesting because it brings up these political and social issues that still exist in the world today. However, it makes it easier to deal with the ideas and emotions because we are dealing with something that has never lived…er…been dead….or whatever.

2) The structure of the vampire political system is quite interesting. While in the television show they have dumbed it down significantly to make things less confusing for the masses, the vampire hierarchy is fairly well thought out. In the books, it is made clear that there are vampires who are more and less politically powerful. A sheriff is the lowest form of the ruling body, and they rule over sectors of the fiefs that they live in. There are kings and queens who rule over vampire populated areas. Now, in the show, they have shown all this but what they have not discussed is the fact that the kings/queens may rule over something as small as a city or sections of a state depending on vampire saturation. For example, the city of New York would have its own king/queen whereas New York state would still have a ruler.

I also like that the kings/queens while they rule over the sheriffs have to go through them before they conduct business in the sheriffs’ areas. This is why in the books Sophie-Anne is actually Queen of Louisiana and is the sheriff of the area in which she resides. This way she doesn’t have ask anyone before she does anything in her area. While the show doesn’t make this sort of thing clear, I believe that they have done a fairly decent job thus far of showing the powers of the kings and queens as with them requiring other vampires to stay (Eric the end of season 2) or kidnapping another vampire (Russell with Bill at the end of Season 2/Beginning of Season 3).

3) The detachment of the vampires from the natural world. Even the shape shifters and weres are still considered human in the grand scheme of things. Why? Because they aren’t “walking dead people” as Arlene so eloquently puts it in the series. They are able to blend in and completely be assimilated (other than the fact that they have higher temps than humans and heal faster).

The vampires now cannot fully appear human. Why? People are looking for them. When they were only superstition (Stevie Wonder songs pops into my head immediately…for no real reason…just because of the word mention), humanity laughed at the shadows and feared what they saw in horror films. With the “Great Revelation” of the vampires, it opened them up to the world. In the books and show, they constantly use the term “coming out of the coffin.” This event has complicated their existence of the shadows. Now, the light of some flickering fluorescent lamp has exposed them. Still, vampires like Bill (although he is trying to appear more human and less vampire like) have tried to matriculate into mainstream society and make humans less afraid.

In the series, characters like Nan Flanagan try to show the world that the vampires are not wicked or corrupt that they can peacefully coexist with mortals. However, even Nan has her own scary face that she shows to only the vampire world. This face that she puts up proves that vampires can’t truly be themselves around the human populous but must maintain that distance of looking better and more friendly than they are in reality.

Weird Reasons that I Like Vampires in Fiction

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So, there are a lot of reasons out there why people like vampires. They’re sexy, powerful, etc. However, I would like to say that I liked vampires before the whole True Blood/Twilight/Vampire Diaries phenomena entered into the picture. Why? Because I like a creature that can span the millenia, blend in, and tell tales about it. It’s interesting for me to read about a character who cannot die by normal body degradation. But here are some of the reasons that I like them that are weird.

1) They practically like superheroes–They bridge two of my loves superheroes/comics and folk lore. I find it fun when a vampire uses their powers for good or evil and becomes a hero or villain of sorts. It also intrigues me  because although superheroes and villains are bound by natural laws vampires are not due to being something other than human.

2) Just like in the first season of True Blood, I would like to be able to have an actual “living” being to ask questions about the past. I am somewhat of a history buff when it comes to certain eras. This would allow me to actually hear and catalog actual events from a survivor of the event which is pretty amazing because some events happened lifetimes ago.  In theory, it would be pretty cool.

3) The idea of something that is not human that exemplifies certain human needs and desires. Any vampire in fiction in the past 150 years has feed off blood and been the monster. However, since Anne Rice, there has been a movement to humanize the creatures. We are allowed to see into their world which is something that Bram Stoker or Sheridan le Fanu didn’t do. We see that they need companionship and feel to sometimes higher degrees the feelings of loneliness because it stretches out before them for all eternity.

4) The fact of how their deaths make me feel. If I’m watching a television show or movie or reading a book, I always feel a little sad when an immortal character dies. Why? They will never be able to make more history or influence anything else. They have been found by the “true death” as True Blood calls it. I guess in some ways it makes me wonder about my own mortality and what I might get accomplished in the brief span of life that I have…whereas that creature may have done nothing but maim and cause carnage for its existence.