These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

topsy turvy

it's been one hell of a week, a freaking roller-coaster ride if there ever was one. lots of highs and lows. not exactly what i really like.

the week started off fine with great news from texas and my dad's cancer marker at zero that was teh bestest, bestest news (oops what was that!). the late night excursion of questions and answers. then flying widely around before stopping.

i am overwhelmed by things this week. i hate the feeling. it happens seldom in my life. usually i have an order to things and i keep to it, whether at work or play. but this week that order has been disrupted and i am hoping to get some control over it. i can't seem to catch up right now, at work that is. i've got this one story looming over me and i need to shake the damn thing. it's due monday. i must center all my attention on finishing the thing. spitting or retching it out of me. whatever it takes. whatever is most violent that will expel it.

there is still another one of these monstrosities to come and i have two weeks to write that one. then it will be over. what a waste of letters, words, sentences and punctuation. oh well.

tonight i am left drained. my mind is a floating gelatenous glob of thoughts and memories. i'll need the weekend to reboot my brain, as things happened in "cell." however, i don't anticipate i'll be turning into some meat-craving zombie. but you know what? that wouldn't be such a bad thing some times.

eh, as a former friend used to say. she'd shrug her shoulders when she'd say that. so i do the same. "eeeeh."

i'll check my system for viruses tonight while i sleep. let's see if anything is found so i can delete them.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


i finished reading stephen king's new book "cell" yesterday. it was a quick read and one of his shorter books (compared to his mammonth "the stand" and "it").

i talked to a friend at work andhe finished the book last week. he described it as a cross between "the stand" and the lengthy short story "the mist." in that conversation, i said i would grade the book a B-.

(spoiler coming up. don't read further. that meansyou dawn.).
the book is about cell phones going nuts. there is someting called "the pulse." it occurred one day while people were using their phones and it continued. so anyone using their phones had their hardware/software corrupted and they sort of turned into zomblie-like creatures.
the book takes place in boston with the main protagonist (clay) there on a business trip from maine to sell his comic strip idea. he leaves his middle-school age kid and wife in maine. he, tom (a gay man) and alice (a teeen) try to make their way back north. they meet other "normies" on the way. at a spot in new hampshire they burn a football field full o them them, marking them as insane. everyone, both the phonies (zombies) and normies, ignore them.
one of the them in the group figures out someone put a pulse going on in cell phones that did this. and so on and so on.

i concur with my friend that the book is sort of divided in half. there's a distinct place in the book where things are going one way, very zomblie-movie like and then things change to some sort of weird cyber/telepathic thing.

it was very much like "the stand" because the pulse was like a plague that struck and you had these groups of people walking around trying to find life afterward. it was also like "the mist" because clay had his wife and kid back home and he wanted to find them no matter what.

while interesting, both in idea and style, i wasn't enamored of the book. i guess i didnt' find some of the things believeable. i know it's fictuion, but even in fiction i find things that can happen, even if they're far-fetched.

the language was something i had an issue with . alice, and even jordan, both youngsters, using fuck this and that in some of their dialogue. that just doesn't happen. i know kids cuss up a storm but it was used in ways and during certain times i didn't find it appropriate. it's almos like cussing for the sake of cussing. i know it's lame but that's how i feel.

the ending was uprupt, too. i wanted to know if the cell phone idea worked on clay's kid to bring him back from zombie land. we'll never know.

how about jordan, only an adolescent, knowing as much about computers as someone who's been working on them for 10 or 15 years. i found it far-fetched.

and, finally, when king writes in that alice, a 15-year-old girl, was the leader of the group, i cringed. yes, youngsters can be leaders, but in this case i thought it was crap, not believeable at al.

i also think king used a little of the borg from star trek: next generation since the group of phonies had telepathy and had collective thoughts. they had one guy, the raggedy man, s their spokesperson.

the book was ok, but not one of king's stronger books. "cell" is no "'salem's lot," "the shining" or "the stand." but it made for interesting reading.

one of the things i liked was near the end king used charley the choo-choo as the name of a ride at the fairgrounds. that is, of course, a throwback to the same character in his dark tower series. i do like when king brings people, titles or other things from one book to another.

Monday, February 06, 2006


good, or should i say, great news. my dad's cancer marker is at 0. he needed it to be lower than 2 to consider stopping chemo treatments.

he had an appointment this morning to get blood results as well as results from a spinal exam he'd taken. they'd found some spots and he said that if the spots turned out to be cancer, then that was it. if it spread to a second part of his body, he was prepared to concede, seeing no way to stop it.

instead, he got the opposite. he was ready for the bad news. he didn't sound very happy last night when i talked to him. today he was relieved. i think that's the best way to describe the way he sounded.

when my sister called me with thenews and said "the cancer marker is at zero." my response was quite evident. i said rather loudly (with dawn sitting across from me at the computer, "fan-fucking-tastic." that's the only word that popped into my head. for me, that was quite appropriate.

so the doc gave him a clean bill of health. no chemo for the next three weeks or so. he will take a pet scan on feb. 20, sans chemo chemicals throughout his body, to get a view of his torso and see what it looks like. but the doc is quite optimistic right now, especially since the marker is at zero.

i understand that he's not cancer-free or anything. he still has the crap inside of him. but a remission is good. we'll take it. we'll take what we can right now. that's time. it's ever so crucial now. and if this zero cancer marker gives us more time, hey, that's sweet.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


the super bowl is finally over. thank goodness. living in west michigan and having the game in detroit has been brutal this past week. constant news coverage. blah, blah, blah. talking heads galore.

finally the game is on. first half was pretty dull. i watched a good portion of it and wasn't particularly impressed.

but i really watched the first half so i'd have an indication as to when the rolling stones would take the stage for the halftime show. i'm not a huge fan but thought it would be cool to check them out.

well, i was disappointed. they only sang three songs, two cliche songs and one song i dont' know before. "start me up" and "satisfaction" are so typical that it was either expected they'd sing them or be surprised by something different. well, they sang them and i wished they'd sang something else like "beast of burden," "under my thumb" or "you can't always get what you want." i'd even take "sympathy for the devil."

mick starts singing "start me up" and the volume isnt' all that gret. finally it kicks in. then, when richards goes into his solo, ou can hear it in the background, like it would sound in the stadium but it wasn't coming out of my tv. finally five to ten seconds in, it kicked in.

jagger's voice was not good. i know his voice isn't great but i expected better. sometimes you couldn't understand what he was saying.

i don't know what the halftime show producers are trying to do. i guess surpass the previous year's show. last year's halftime was paul mccartney. great vocals and it was nice to hear the beatles' songs sung, but it was a little bland.

so me the shows are getting worse, more commercial. the game is encapsulated in between a media blitz of hours and hours of pregame stuff, a huge halftime show and postgame stuff that lasts hours. the game itself seems to have lost any real meaning. everything has a sponsor now. it's the sprint halftime show, the gatorade timeout, the fill-in-the-blank someone is inured on the field report or the fill-in-the-blank oops the kicker missed the field goal. so much commercial bullshit. anything for the almighty dollar. that seems to be the way the game (or any big sports game) is run these days. what a shame.