What the Hell Did I Just Read

whatthehellI have a few friends who like their comedy, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, whatever in nice little boxes so they know exactly what they’re getting before they start reading. I get why they like that, and that’s fine for them, but I love my genres to mix. Just throw them all in the same box, shake them around a bit, and see what Frankenstein hybrid stories you can tell. I like not knowing what I’m in for.

That’s what attracted me to David Wong in the first place–with all the comedy, horror, sci-fi, and serious drama mashed together I never knew what was coming next. But sadly, I’m starting to figure it out. What the Hell Did I Just Read is the third book in the Dave and John series and I loved it, but I wasn’t quite as enthralled. It was still funny and sometimes horrific, but not quite as mind-bending the third time around.

What I did love, though, was that Dave and John are based on real people. Literally, on the author and his best friend growing up. This makes the goofy heroes of the story also incredibly normal and sympathetic, with realistic insecurities and ambitions and drinking problems. That real human drama is still compelling and sometimes very sad and frustrating, especially as the books follow their characters into the long and complicated years of full adulthood.

David Wong is still one of my favorite authors, right up there with my more acceptably “litarary” faves.* I wonder, though, if Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits ruined me for John and Dave. Less utterly confusing, but more tense and mysterious. Who knows? Only time and several sequels will tell. violence

*For context, I was a literature major. This year’s Nobel Prize for literature went to Kazuo Ishiguro, and though I’ve read at least three of his novels, I was secretly hoping Murakami would finally get picked. I know all this because I’m a bona fide lit nerd. But I try not to be a lit snob. 😉

Lego Monsters

Mr. Robot remembered to get out the Lego monsters. A few years ago when Lego put out its Monster Fighers line I went a little crazy buying most of them. Now I’m glad I did–my collection was nearly complete when they stopped selling them. Back then they even had a Monster Fighters game on the Lego website. Which I never finished. Because I suck at video games.

What about you? Have you ever felt silly snatching up a deal and been so glad you did?

 

Goth (Stereo)Types and Why I Love Them All

A few posts ago I wrote about tarot, and I said I loved how each artist brings something new to the same set of symbols. That and some dreaming over dark mori girls (fall always puts me in a witchy, fairy tale mood) got me thinking about the Goth Stereotypes meme.

It’s been going around a long time, but on the off chance you’re not familiar here it is: visit the site for fun description of all the types.

goth types.jpg

People sometimes act like these are hard and fast categories, like you have to pick one and be great at it. If that were the case I would clearly pick Geek Goth because it matches my blog title. But I would also be sad (and not in a fun way) to be limited like that. I am mighty and cannot be contained by one stereotype!

But seriously, I think there are two levels (at least) to stuff like this. On the one hand, it’s just fashion. I see nothing wrong with dressing like a rivethead while sipping fine wine and listening to Bach, or reading Wuthering Heights in your gothabilly pinup dress. On the other hand, I kind of do assume that a rivethead or a gothabilly will have a certain attitude and music taste, and I’d probably use that as a conversation starter.

In that sense, I pick Geek Goth because fantasy novels, cult classic movies, and music of all sorts really gets me going, and fashion comes farther down on the list for me. As a geek, it seems normal to love Sisters of Mercy and Tool and Vermillion Lies and Atrium Carceri and Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. We’re pretty eclectic like that. Fashionwise, I’m the same way. I’ve worn and loved stompy Doc Martens, a Bettie Page pinup dress, swirly witch skirts and slick corpgoth slacks. I like it all. Or most of it, anyway.

Goth, like tarot, is a dark theme, and each goth brings something different to it. The types are just a loose map of common variations on the basic gothic theme. They can be useful for navigating this dark and beautiful world, but once you know your way around you don’t need the map so much.  I love to look at this “goth map” every once in a while and just reminisce about where I’ve been and where I’m headed. I think that’s the best use for it.

 

Evil Dead: the Cross Stitch

I finished my Dead By Dawn cross stitch. I still have to iron and frame it and hang it up, but it’s done. I love stitching–crochet, knitting, cross stitch–because it puts me into a focused, mindful state. Cross stitch is new to me, so this project was right at the limit of my skill and really made me focus. That was a lot of fun, but I also had some sweary moments of picking out (and once or twice cutting out) wrong stitches. I’m hoping practice makes me better at counting squares.

Still, I’m planning to dip back into crochet next. I found a nice shawl pattern I want to make and I ordered a hank of fancy wool to make it out of. I can’t wait for it to arrive.

onyx wool

I managed to finish the whole thing without actually rewatching the Evil Dead trilogy. I watched Little Evil and The Babadook and several documentaries instead. The Babadook was great, but the “babadook=unresolved grief” metaphor was a bit obvious. Little Evil is a horror comedy from Netflix and it’s a bit tame but fun and kind of heartwarming. A good cross stitching movie.

 

Cross Stitch Witches

I cross stitch! I’m a cross stitcher!

I grew up in a pretty crafty culture so I’m sure I cross stitched some small thing as a kid, but this is my first real project. My younger sister stitches geeky little sayings and she inspired me to try my hand. It’s not perfect–I’m a row off in a couple of places and had to improvise–but it turned out pretty well for a first try.  Even the back looks, well, not great but not totally terrible either. I consider it a win. I’m thinking of giving it to my parents for Christmas. Just so they know some of that crafting rubbed off on me after all. My mom loves anything holiday themed–any holiday–so she’d totally keep this and have my dad show it off every Halloween.

My next project will be a bit harder but I can’t wait to get started. I got a pattern for an Evil Dead sampler that I can’t wait to get started on. I used to have the original Evil Dead trilogy way back when VHS tapes were still a thing and I haven’t watched them since the world went all digital, so I plan on watching them while I stitch.

 

 

I basically googled gothy and geeky cross stitch until I found something perfect, and it happened to be sold through Etsy, by Pyro Dog Pins. I know there are a lot of free patterns, but now that I’m older and slightly less poor I try to support people’s creativity by paying for what I can. If this pattern goes well I’m seriously considering trying either the Bates Motel or the Big Lebowski patterns some time.

Lucky for me, Mr. Robot doesn’t consider adorable shotguns and chainsaws too creepy, so when I’m finished we’ll probably hang Dead By Dawn in our newly repainted bathroom. Yay!

Day 14: Cutest Socks

It’s a tie betweeen my Bride of Frankenstein socks and my alien landing socks. All my other socks are either “serious” blacks and grays or random skulls and stuff, so these are the clear winners. I’ve already worn Bride of Frankenstein this week, so I had to fish one out of the laundry basket to get a picture.

Assorted Entertainments

While the winter storms have come one after the other, piling up snow and icing the roads, I’ve been snuggling up in my memento mori blanket and catching up on all sorts of entertainment.

memento-mori-blanket

Over the last few weeks I’ve watched the new Dirk Gently series twice. I read the books back in the day and I felt this series was true to the spirit of the original while creating a whole new storyline and cast of characters. But don’t let kids watch it unless they have a high tolerance for blood and weirdness.

This week season 4 of Bates Motel came to Netflix, so that’ll keep me company for a week or two while I work on my skully lap blanket. I found some silvery grey yarn in my stash and decided to alternate that with the red. So far I’m excited about the color combination.

silverlining

My music has been tending toward the moody and atmospheric, like Tones on Tail and Dead Can Dance. All of that put a very specific song in my head, only I couldn’t remember what it was called or who did it. Took me an hour of googling to figure out it was Scott Walker’s Farmer in the City. This time I made sure to find out what album it was on (Tilt) and download it so I wouldn’t forget again. If you like avant garde music or somber chanting stuff, which I do on occasion, you’ll like the album.

I’ve also been in a reading mood. I just finished a nice dark fantasy novel inspired by Alice in Wonderland (called, unsurprisingly, Alice). The pacing was a little off for me, taking a long time to wind up and then rushing to a conclusion, but I was into the dystopian world the author created and I’m a sucker for stories that blend grimy cityscapes with magic and fantasy, which this book does well. I always found the dream logic of Alice in Wonderland creepy (especially in the original books and the Disney movie) so this explicitly dark take feels natural to me. There’s a sequel I’ll have to get to one of these soon days, but I’m finishing Broken Monsters first. I’m liking that one so far as well.

So that’s what I’m up when I’m not working. How are you keeping busy lately?