Moments of escape can be moments of clarity!

"Oh, had I but followed the Arts"-William Shakespeare

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fun with ASL & one John Connolly




Eiayay

Hi, I’m eiayay, I’m here with Irish Author John Connolly. He’s the Author of some of my favorite books. The Charlie Parker books and the “Book of Lost Things” I love that, it’s a great book and his newest book “The Infernals”  the sequel to 2009’s “The Gates”
John, could you tell us a little about “The Infernals”?


John
Most writers are magpies by nature, we look for shiny things to steal and I had an idea about 10 years ago for a book in which a young boy discovers that his neighbors are trying to open the gates of hell.  It was essentially Satanism for children, and I couldn’t quite figure out how to do it.  Then I begin reading about the large Hadron  Collider, which is a big particle accelerator in Switzerland and basically they were trying to uncover the secrets of the Universe and their were dire threats around this machine. Which was said could create a black hole that would destroy the planet. And I thought… there’s my story. Although what was really funny was when they did turn it on, not only did it not destroy the planet, it didn’t work at all. But I realized that I could combine Science and Fantasy in one story.

Eiayay

How has your upbringing affected your writing, especially in this book?

John

You know, I had a perfectly lovely childhood. I really resent my parents for not being more dysfunctional.  I feel they gave me very little to work with. But I have a kind of fondness for childhood, for my childhood. That I suppose I remember myself as a 10, 11 year old boy who read a lot, who had a dog, that was maybe a bit too imaginative for his own good. So, there was a lot of me in David, in “The Book of Lost Things”.

Eiayay

Moving on, I want to talk a little about music. I’m a musician and I listen to your radio show ABC to XTC. How did that start for you?

John

Well, my….I would find it very difficult to choose between books and music. They’re both just huge parts of my life, and I have a particular fondness for that period, the late 70’s and early 80’s. Musically, because it was the period that I became a teenager, and I think when it comes to music a lot of our affection is tied up with the music we listened to as a teenager. And I had done a radio show for children , a one-off radio show for Halloween in which I played odd songs about people drowning and weird songs about ghosts, none of which were what the radio station quite expected. And once they had de-traumatized the children, they asked me if there was anything particular I’d like to do if given the opportunity? I said I’d like to do a show about late 70’s, early 80’s music and the producer said….Please don’t because it’s all terrible. And I said, I will convince you otherwise and I kinda did. Although he still resents me for making him listen to so much of it.

Eiayay

This is kind of a funny question. When you listen to music, do you sing, loud and clear or only on the inside?

John

Only on the inside, I was not gifted with a singing voice and I dance like an ironing board.

Eiayay

A What?

John

The thing you iron your shirts on.

Eiayay

Oh, an ironing board. The last question, “Guns & Roses” or “The Cars”, which is worthy  of  the  Rock  &  Roll  Hall  of Fame?

John

Oh, I’ll take “The Cars” over “Guns & Roses” any day.  “Guns & Roses” had one good Album.

Eiayay

I  agree, me too!!  I want to thank John for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with me. If you want to learn more about John and his books, go to his website,  johnconnollybooks.com  Thank you



Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bits & Bobs

Ok, I have been a little slackey in the Blogger department, but it's a very.....Oh, hell I have no excuses, except doing other things, fun things and a few lazy things.
This is stressful time of year in my straight job. I work in the Mental health field and Holiday time is a heart-wrenching but rewarding time of year.  My ASL (American Sign Language ) Studies are going well albeit slowly. I am waiting for my next class to come up in rotation.
On the Acting front I'm still grinding along, a few auditions and just finished an acting class brushing up on my scene work.  I will be doing some script reading this week. One audition was for hand model work (who would of thought). I'm also putting my head to the grindstone in the songwriting department I've actually managed to finish two songs (A hardy WOOT for me). giving the drum set a steady workout and loving it I am channeling my inner Nigel Olsson.
It's what am I readin' and listenin' to time. Musically my mood changes from moment to moment. Robert Palmer's "Sneakin' Sally through the Alley"  is in heavy rotation . What a voice, I miss him, he had a way with phrasing that is unparalleled, he can wrap his voice around a word and change it's meaning while at the same time have it begging to be released. My favorite track is "Hey Julia" preferably blasting.


My book review is "The Infernals" by John Connolly. This is the sequel to his 2009 book "The Gates". OK I have to admit I read these books backwards. I quite enjoy his books but it took me awhile to get around to his three young adult books, the two above and his 2006 novel "The Book of Lost Things". It's just , well they are in the children's section of Book stores and as one who doesn't have young children ,I feel a bit skulky heading to the children's section for something to read. I felt like I had to wrap it up in a bit of brown paper, like porn. sorry.....
Ok, back to the review. "The Infernals" revisits young Samuel Johnson and his trusty dachshund Boswell (Is it just me or does this bring to mind a certain 17th century author and his biographer) after they have saved the Earth from the Gates of Hell (with the help of their friend, the decidedly un-demon-like , demon Nurd).
Samuel's neighbors and friends in the town of Biddlecombe have blissfully returned to ignorance and have put the whole nasty episode behind them, but Samuel knows better.
Soon he and Boswell once again find themselves in a fight for their lives , dragged through a portal into the realms of The Infernals. Due to bad timing and poor aim , an ice cream truck, some errant Dwarves and a couple of Constables find themselves sucked into Hell also.  Thus begins an imaginative, rollicking adventure, even a bit hair-raising at times. It was a delightful read. What I loved most was that the characters were filled to the brim with Hope. Mr. Connolly used Foot notes throughout , which had me laughing out loud.
So step boldly into the children's section and claim all three, I highly recommend "The Book of Lost Things" (It tis the season) which is on my list of top 20 favorite books. If at purchase you are asked if you would like a bag, proudly proclaim "NO"!


I had a chance to interview Mr. Connolly for an ASL (American Sign Language ) project (Thank you very much Mr. Connolly). I will post it next, it was meant for my Deaf friends and classmates, so the sound is wonky, but I will include a transcript. To my Deaf friends be gentle, it was spur of the moment and I did not request answers ahead of time. Thanks !

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Still trying to find the Sweet part!

The Reel of the week is 1990's "After Dark my Sweet" based on the novel by Jim Thompson. It's the tale of a punch drunk, off-kilter ex-boxer (Jason Patric) who's drifting through life and towns with nothing but a brown paper bag, holding all his worldly possessions. He happens into a bar where he meets the young slightly alcoholic widow, Faye (Rachel Ward). The collision of these two characters could not have been more wrong.  Faye introduces Kevin (Jason Patric) to her "good Friend" Uncle Bud (Bruce Dern), who though he cares for Faye, he is keenly aware of Faye's weaknesses and uses them to his advantage.  Uncle Bob sees an opportunity to use Faye's seductiveness and Kevin's fog of punch drunkenness to his advantage. He hatches a plot to kidnap the son of a wealthy businessman and hold him for ransom talking the volatile Kevin into performing the task.
This movie is full of twists and turns. You never quite know, who's telling the truth, in other words, there is no Dramatic Irony. Bruce Dern's character Uncle Bob, is so annoyingly creepy you wonder what the hell Faye saw in him, but maybe she is just too high to notice. Sometimes Jason Patrics character is vague and confusing,but I don't know if that's the way the character is written, or it's Jason Patric's acting.

The ending is satisfying but as usual I wanted a little more information, but I think that's my own need to completely unwrap a package to make sure it is what it's supposed to be. I need to work on that.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Checking in with the BAU

This weeks episode of Criminal Minds entitled "Hope" was definitely Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) driven. Garcia is the moderator of a survivor support group and one of the members is abducted after a meeting. Garcia calls in the team to help. The woman (Brigid Brannaugh) was abducted on the 7th anniversary of her own daughters abduction. Criminal Minds was really digging deep into the ick, ickky bag for this episode when it is revealed exactly what the abductor did with both mother and daughter. It was a tense episode, but even I found this episode discomfiting. I'm pretty hardy when it comes to Murder & Mayhem, maybe it touched the pit of my stomach because I have a child, albeit grown but still....
I think this is one episode that needed a little more of the team side stories to help it go down a little easier, but all in all Kim Harrison (writer) did a good job.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Softer side of Bale

My Reel of the week is 1999's "All the Little Animals". Christian Bale stars as Bobby Platt, a 24 year old who because of a head injury when he was a boy has a slightly diminished mental capacity. His mother who loved , cared and doted on him, passes away. He is left with his angry, disinterested and abusive step-father played by Daniel Benzali. Now that Bobby's mother is out of the picture, his step-father is free to put into action his own agenda, which is to institutionalize Bobby and take over the chain of stores owned by Bobby's mother and willed to him. Bobby runs away to escape the abuse and meets a tortured stranger (John Hurt) who has given up on man, and become a nomad who's life mission is to care for the animals that lose their lives due to man's negligence. This begins a journey of change, discovery and redemption for them both.

A simple and sweet film.  This is one of Christian Bale's first films. A much less guarded performance, full of innocence. It is a pre-Hollywood dentistry Christian, which really adds to his charm and innocence. Daniel Benzali's character is a little bit over the top and is almost a  caricature , but the performances of Bale and Hurt make it a worthwhile film.  A warm and unornamented film

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ain't nothing but a Wednesday Thing!

Ok I am so definitely behind on checking in with the BAU, but that's water under the bridge. Onward and upward. November 2nd's episode "Epilogue" finds the BAU called to California on the trail of a serial killer who kills young men and dumps their bodies in nearby lakes. Hotch and the team discover from the autopsies that the UNSUB is drowning and reviving the victims repeatedly, the reason for this we find out later. This episode was written by Rick Dunkle (pictured below with Thomas Gibson) who also wrote one of my favorite episodes "Slave of Duty". I thought the flashbacks  really gave you a window into what factors into the making of a serial killer.


Meanwhile a side story involving Rossi and a question his first wife asked of him in a previous episode weighs heavy on his mind. My only problem with this part of the episode was how quickly it resolved itself. I would have liked it to be revisited in a few more episodes before ending so quickly. I think it was a missed opportunity to check in on Rossi's tender side a bit more. All in all it was a great story, I'm also enjoying JJ's new role as a profiler.