Google+ Followers

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Saints, Angels, Fairies, Ghosts and More Mermaids

Hey, everybody! I hope you’ve been having a great week.

I also hope you enjoyed my story that I posted in two parts between the last couple of entries. If you didn’t, drop me a comment why so I can crank out some stories you will enjoy. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can do so by going to these two links:  http://faroutfantastic.blogspot.com/2011/07/mermaids-pirates-sea-monsters-and.html; http://faroutfantastic.blogspot.com/2011/08/upcoming-online-horror-con-and-part-ii.html.

A lot of events are coming up in the speculative culture, at least here on this side of California, good old NorCal. The World Science Fiction Con, a. k. a. Renovation, in Reno, Nevada, is next week, Wednesday the 17th through Sunday the 21st of August. I’m not sure if I myself will be able to attend, but if I do it will only be for a day or two and if that’s the case I’ll try to have a brief recap in my column at Examiner.com. I’ll keep you updated.

I attended a talk sponsored by the Joseph Campbell Foundation this afternoon at Luna’s Café in midtown Sacramento. It was given by humanities/religious studies professor, Maria Jaoudi of CSU, Sacramento (my alma mater) and was on the mystic St. Hildegarde of Bingen. It was a really interesting presentation accompanied by colourful photos of the medieval art that was inspired by the German mystic’s visions. For many of you, such art may be mere depictions of a person’s high imagination due to life long health problems, but to some of us believers they’re results of divine inspiration. But whatever our beliefs are, these depictions are this for sure: works of extraordinary vision, a kind of vision all us artists, writers, film makers and such convey in our own ways. It doesn’t matter whether such visions make reference to real things or not; what matters is how they effect our audiences and whether they even effect them at all and make them see life in such a way that they would not otherwise see. That is what great art of any kind--whether a painting, a novel or short story, a song, a film or even a video game—does, is make us see life in a way that we otherwise wouldn’t and make us want to live life to the fullest. And if you’re a fantasist like me you’ll know that saints, angels, fairies, wizards, and ghosts have a lot more in common than an exclusively religious person of today would think. They are all beings of mythology in one way or another, regardless of whether any of them exist or not, and they are all associated with the mysterious and therefore the supernatural--that which is beyond the mundane. Whether such a force exists or not is up to you. However, this I will say does exist: the power of art.

After the presentation, when I was up at the counter paying for my peppermint and apple cinnamon iced tea, I discovered a Sacramento science fiction author’s novel sitting on a rack there. The title is Red Storm, and the author is actually the café owner’s brother, Frank Luna. The story takes place on a colonized Mars and seems really interesting and I would like to read it myself after I finish the bulk of my sci fi/fantasy reading that I’m presently working on. Anyway, the author is scheduled for a book signing at Luna’s Café in September. I’ll have more details for you when it gets closer to the date, probably through a link to an Examiner.com article I plan to do on the event.

Well, I need to get on to other things on this Saturday evening. But I want to leave you with some photos of Sacramento’s first annual Mermaid Parade that occurred last month and which you can read about in an earlier entry of mine here. You’ll find the photos below.

Until next time . . .





A mermaid in her throne being pushed by a pirate with a jelley fish to the side.


I guess you can call her Ariel, "The Little Mermaid"!


La Sirena ('The Mermaid')


A squidman and a mermaid . . .


and a merman.





Sunday, August 7, 2011

Upcoming Online Horror Con, and Part II of "The Bazaar"

Warning: Contains material that some readers may consider offensive and/or objectionable.


Hey, everybody!

I told you I would have Part Two to my short story that I posted for you the last time and so I do! I hope you're enjoying it. If you missed that one, you can read it here.

If you want to read more of my short fiction I may be posting some in a blog at HorrorAddicts.net's very first online horror con which will occur in November. I'll try to update you on this con as much as possible, but you can also go to HorrorAddicts.net yourself for updates if you'd like. And while you're at it, you may as well read some of the interesting blog entries by other bloggers there who have a lot of neat things to say about the dark genres of literature, film, television, music and in some cases even video games! Speaking about video games, there are also a few music videos there. Many of these are of music genres such as dark alternative rock, goth metal, and even some horror themed electronica. Check them out!

It's way past the witching hour, so I must leave you now so I'm not up all night again like I have been too many Saturday nights/early Sunday mornings; I don't want to turn into a vampire. By no means anything against the living dead, I just need my ugly sleep. Ha, ha!

Take (s)care!



The Bazaar
by Steven Rose, Jr.

Part II (The Conclusion)


The woman said, “Well if you’re interested in the time and want it, you’ll have to buy it, like anything else.” Then she pointed to one among hundreds of watches laying on the scarlet velvet inside the glass case and said, “For a small fee I can give you this watch that–“


Suddenly Monte burst out, “Oh, damn it! Son of a bitch! Does this store have to make jokes anytime a customer asks a simple non-retail question around here?” He swung his cart back around towards the direction he felt sure he had been walking in before he stopped in the watch and clocks department. As he was doing this, he noticed the hand clock hanging in the very center of the stand-alone wall of the service counter: the clock’s front consisted entirely of a photographic image of Narcissus Wallace’s face. The face seemed to gaze and grin at Monte mockingly. In fact, all the clocks and watches seemed to watch Monte make a scene. Suddenly, he noticed that all the hand clocks up on the wall, including the one of Wallace, were each pointing both hands towards the direction Monte was shoving his over-piled cart in: the three o’clock position. This time he could no longer stand it. His dick was growing and hardening to get that mirror home to his girlfriend, who he knew must have been getting pissed off by now for having to wait so long. Maybe the gloves and mirror would cheer her up, even though she was not a materialist when it came to reconciling.


Half holding his breath in to control his tension, he calmly asked a nearby customer, “Do you know what time it is?”


The fellow customer, a 60-something man, said, ”Oh I’m sorry. My watch stopped several hours ago.”

Monte exclaimed desperately, “How many hours ago?” He thought if the man told him, Monte could figure out how long he had been in the store. But the old man said, “I’m not sure. All I know is that it’s been dead since fifteen after three.” He held up his wrist to show his watch to Monte; both hands pointed to the three, the exact direction Monte was headed in. Monte was stunned. All clocks and watches were suddenly reading fifteen after three!


At first he pushed his loot forward, passively. Then the anger of feeling that the store was doing him an injustice because “nobody” had the time blazed up in him. He did not know specifically why, but he wanted to smash all the clocks, especially the one with Mr. Wallace’s face. It was as though every clock in the store was denying him the correct time. He shoved his loot onward. He ran his cart through racks and display shelves both out of anger as well as determination not to lose direction to the store entrances. Customers and employees were flashing their heads towards him, commenting to each other with shocked looks. An Anglo-looking security guard ran towards him raising his voice saying, “All right, sir! Just what the hell is the problem here?”


Monte said, “What the hell is the problem here’ is that what ya’ wanna know? I’ll tell ya’ what the hell is the problem! The problem is this whole fucking store!” He glanced around indicating the entire store. “I ask the simplest of questions, the fucking way out, and there’s not one damn clock or person here that can tell me what time it is or the way out!”


The guard said, “Sir, if you keep up this attitude, I will show you the way out.”


Monte said sarcastically, “Good! Because it’ll be about time somebody does!”


Suddenly Monte was interrupted by a girl’s voice, crying, “Monte! What’s
wrong?”


Even though the voice contained shock in its tone, it was very soothing because of its familiarity. Monte turned in the direction of the girl’s voice: standing there among the spectating customers with a cart that was nearly loaded to the top, was Grace. Monte immediately ran over to her and jumped into her arms, wrapping his own around her waste, burying his face in her breasts, exclaiming, “Oh, Grace! I thought you–“ No, that would be stupid, he thought in restraint. It would be stupid to tell her that he thought she had left him; he used to think that his mom had left him whenever he had gotten lost in a store when he was little. Tears were starting to rise up in his eyes but he blinked them back. He was always taught never to cry around girls, that it would make him look weak. It was enough that he was twenty-one years old yet four inches shorter than his own girlfriend who was younger than him by two years.


Grace exclaimed, “Monte, what’s wrong? What happened?”


As soon as the tears rolled back, he lifted his head toward her smooth brown face and whispered, “I’m sorry, Grace. But, I almost forgot our date tonight. I thought you had given up on me. I thought you left . . .” Realizing that he was about to make the same mistake again, that he was about to say, “I thought you left me,” he revised, “I thought you left my house.”
Grace covered her gasping mouth with both hands. Then she confessed, “I was never at your house, Monte! I forgot we even had a date. I’ve been shopping here since . . .” she paused, looking up at an angle as though she were struggling to recall what time she had come into the store. Then she said, “I’ve been here nearly all day.”


The security guard asked her, “Is this your boyfriend, ma’m?”

She flashed her head toward the security guard, her mouth open and eyes wide with disbelief, and said, “It’s not like him. He’s normally not this way. He’s . . . had a hard week.” She lied for Monte. The week had actually went by well for him because that was the week she had returned from her trip back east. She had been gone for two whole weeks. For Monte, it had been two whole weeks without Grace, which had caused him to begin doubting his sexuality again. Even though throughout the week he had known he would have to wait until that night for her to stay over, since she only stayed at his house on the weekends, the week had looked bright to him. It had looked bright to him until after he had been compulsively shopping in Wallace’s Bazaar for the last several hours. However, things were brightening up again. He was so delighted that she could lie for him, which doing so was an act that went against her spiritual beliefs.


Grace offered to pay for the damage that Monte had done from knocking over the merchandise. So the security guard decided to let the situation go. Then after the guard walked away, and the crowds of spectators broke up and returned to their shopping, Grace said to Monte, “I can’t believe you! You knocked down all that stuff just because you realized you had forgotten our date?”


Monte explained, nervously, “Look, Grace, I don’t know why, but this store is built very strange. I’ve been looking for one of the entrances so I can leave the store, so I could go home and meet you. I didn’t want you to think I didn’t care about you anymore. But I can’t even find the ends of the store!”


Grace assured, “It never even occurred to me that you no longer cared about me, Monte. As I just said, I forgot about going out myself, because I’ve been here all day.”


“But I never would have thought that you would be here.”


“Normally I wouldn’t, but I needed some detergent and their prices are so good here that I decided to get it here. Then I saw how good of deals they had on their bath items, their shampoo, soap, and such, I thought I’d load up on them.”

“I understand that now. What I don’t understand is how it’s nearly impossible to find the way out! Do you know how damn big this place is?”


Grace assured, “Baby, you’re just not used to shopping in stores this big; you usually go to the mall. Wallace’s is the biggest mega store in the world so far, so it can be a little overwhelming for some people. I tell you what, since we both forgot about our date, why don’t we just stay here and look around some more, and call this a date. There’s still some things I want to look for; you can help me pick some stuff out.”


He said, “That’s fine, but let’s try not to take too long, because look what I got for us to put on the ceiling in the bedroom,” and he lifted out of the cart the body size mirror to show Grace. “Straight from the Classical Greek era,” he exaggerated. Grace was overjoyed with the mirror. Without hesitation, she agreed to speed things up.

Although Grace’s cart loaded up to the top, it did not overflow like Monte’s had. It also did not take her long to find everything else she was looking for compared to when Monte had been shopping. She very seldom shopped at chain stores and so there was very little that she wanted at Wallace’s Bazaar, considering the store’s size. Monte, however, was too ready to keep piling more treasures in his cart. But Grace would not let him. She said to him, while grabbing a plastic, classical style mermaid out of his arms that attracted his attention in the home and garden department, “I thought we were going to make love under the new mirror?”


“You think I want the mermaid to make love under the mirror tonight instead of you?” Monte sassed.


Grace dropped the mermaid back into the school of its replicated and therefore identical sisters. Then she said, “I think you want the mermaid like you want anything else too much. You’re going to overspend your credit accounts again, Monte. I don’t want you to go into dept like you did the last time. We didn’t do anything, not even talk to each other for weeks!” Monte had come up with excuses of why they could not see each other during that time he had went into dept. He had been trying to hide the fact about his poor financial responsibility until he could pay off his debts. However, Grace cared too much about him to trust the excuses; so she had ended up doing exactly what he had not wanted her to do: she paid off the debts. Now she already paid off another set of debts that came from the damage that Monte caused earlier. However, it was a set of debts caused by his frustration from not being able to get home to Grace. Therefore not only was too much of his compulsive consumerism leaking out from him, but perhaps even his sexual insecurity too. Suddenly, he noticed the satyrs on the mirror frame. They seemed to gaze at him, as though saying with their lustful smiles, “Don’t forget about our mirror!”


So he decisively agreed with Grace’s point. “OK, let’s go pay for your stuff so we can get out of here.” She smiled gently, and intertwined her slim arm around his over-weight one and they walked off to find a register.


#

After she paid for her stuff at the nearest register, she and Monte headed toward, what the cashier had indicated to them was, the nearest entrance. Which they were not able to find. After they futilely asked several clerks and fellow customers about how to get to it, Grace said to Monte, irritably, “I can’t believe how obsessed the people are about selling or buying products here. You ask even another customer a non-consumer question and they rush a very vague answer to you that’s hardly an answer.”


Monte said, “I told you, Grace, I’ve been getting responses like that all day. The management wants you to shop forever here to make sure they fill their damn vault. Nothing you buy here is enough for the store.” Monte suddenly realized with shock that that same fact went for him, the consumer.


#


They soon happened to stroll their carts into the bed and mattress section. Their eyes were specifically attracted to a lush red and pink quilt covered queen-size bed, the quilt looking like it was made of the softest, smoothest material. The pillows bulged with tenderness. The bed was in a display scene that simulated a master bedroom. The scene was decorated with several erotic items on the stand-alone walls, the book shelves, and lamp tables. Light from the lamps, one on each side of the bed, glowed through scarlet dome shaped shades. The lamps were two of the many erotic items since each lamp consisted of an erect, feminine, porcelain leg wearing a black high heel. On one of the stand-alone walls hung a red, neon lamp made to resemble feminine lips. On another wall hung a photorealistic painting of a hard, muscled, masculine torso. Miniature, nude statues stood in different places on the book shelves.

Grace exclaimed in an erotic whisper, “Look at this bed,” rushing over to the display. She began, stroking her left hand across the bed’s comforter.


Monte said, trance-like, “You don’t have to tell me,” staring at not the bed but Grace stroking it. He felt himself lying on the display bed and Grace’s hand stroking his smooth brown chest like it did when they would go to bed together on the weekends. But even this sensual fantasy was not enough. So he examined the price tag: $695, including mattress, bed sheets and comforter! This was far more reasonable than any bed he had seen at any furniture store! With a sly smile, he suggested to Grace, “Why don’t we go two ways on the bed–“


Grace cut him off, raising her voice, “Monte, you don’t have enough in your accounts and neither do I. We can get along fine on either of our own beds.”


Monte explained, “We’ll use what we got and take out loans to pay the credit. It costs enough to where the bank will give us a loan. We’re both working, we can pay it back.”

Grace said, “It’s not that easy, Monte. The banks are going to come asking us to pay them back before we can even make any of this,” she pointed at the price tag. “You should know that; you work at a bank.” She paused for several seconds glancing at the mirror in Monte’s cart. A slight worried expression formed on her face. She looked back at the bed again saying, passionately, “It is beautiful though. So beautiful I would not even be able to wait until after purchasing it to lie down on.” Her voice had lowered back to a whisper. She stroked her smooth, Mediterranean brown hand over the cover again.


To Monte, Grace sounded like she could not wait to get the mirror home to his house; there was no anticipating how soon they would find an entrance. So he also stroked his hand over the cover until his and Grace’s met and intertwined like two spiders mating. Soon their bodies pressed together and their lips touched and sucked at each other. Even though Monte’s feet were sore from the extensive walking, the rest of his body was fired up. And so was Grace’s. The two lovers dropped themselves onto the bed, continuing to suck at each other’s lips until Monte noticed himself and Grace in the mirror that peeked halfway out of the cart. He remembered what he bought the mirror for besides just for its classical frame. Monte walked quickly over to the cart and heaved out the body-size mirror. He leaned it against the side of the cart that faced the bed, since he had no way that was in close enough reach for him to nail it onto the ceiling above. For now, he thought, this will be good enough. His sex organs could not wait. Apparently neither could Grace’s. She looked at him impatiently as he set up the mirror and walked quickly back to the bed where she lay. They could not remember where they were, as they unbuttoned and unzipped, and pulled off each other’s clothes, including the under garments. They did not slip under the sheets; they wanted to see as well as feel everything. And so they did.


The classical figures, all of them, in the mirror’s frame stared back at the love makers, lustfully watching the show. And so did Narcissus Wallace, grinning widely and lecherously from a portrait up on the wall of the bedroom display. And so did the two lovemaking figures in the mirror.


Monte no longer had any memory of his sexual insecurity.


#

As though waking up from a dream, Monte suddenly heard the authoritative voice shout, “OK, that’s it! No mercy this time you two; getch’or clothes on and come with us quietly!” Monte could not remember where he was at until he looked up from Grace and saw the Anglo security guard they encountered earlier. This time, there were two other guards and three cops with him. One of the cops spoke something into his radio which statically garbled back an authoritative voice. Also standing nearby were another crowd of spectators, most of them with wide stunned eyes--except for a few teenagers, low-lifes and counterculturalists who were either busting up with wicked laughter or howling cheers at the two spontaneous porno performers.

The two lovers reluctantly obeyed. After they dressed, they immediately felt the cold metal hand-cuffs clicking around their wrists, and the shoving of heavy calloused hands from in back. The spectators, customers and clerks alike, followed the legal procession while one of the cops read the two lovers’ rights. It did not take the two lovers long to arrive at the set of glass doors that lead out into the now black night. Monte noticed another photo portrait of Narcissus Wallace on the wall between two sets of the outer doors of the entryway. The founder seemed to grin slyly at the two arrested spontaneous porn stars. If Monte’s hands were free he would have definitely smash that copy of the portrait. However, as the two young people were steadily pushed out into the night air, Monte noticed items dropping out of a man’s overloaded cart. The man picked them up and then tried holding them under his arm while he pushed his cart, his cheeks puffing up, entire face growing red, and brows knitting an expression of distress. Monte realized that he was looking at another reflection of himself. He no longer felt a need to smash any of the store founder’s portraits. He raised his voice above the noise of rolling carts and passing traffic, saying, “I finally found what I was really looking for here, Grace.”


Grace raised her voice back, “What was that?”


“The way out.”




Monday, July 18, 2011

Mermaids, Pirates, Sea Monsters and Satyrs

Warning: Contains material that some may consider offensive and/or objectionable.


Hi, everybody! I’m back again.

Summer’s a time for fun in the sun (as the cliché goes), beaches, picnics and definitely releases of new blockbuster movies! But it can also be a time for old (and even new) cheap budget movies too. At least if you’re a B-rated movie nerd like me. Whether you like to watch them merely to laugh at or if you simply like obscure movies of all kinds, you may want to take a look at my new article at examiner.com on sci fi horror movies that are perfect for summer beach parties (or pool parties for those of you who live inland, like me) or even just to watch on your own or with a small group of friends. The list of movies I suggest in the article actually include both blockbusters and B-rateds, although all of them go back pre-2010. There just hasn’t seemed to be any new releases of great (A- or B-rated) sci fi-horror with summer or beach party themes out there lately. Although there is one coming up called Shark Night in 3D, which I saw the trailer for but it looked to be your too typical, college frat style gore flick even for this B-rated fan and college graduate. That’s supposed to be coming in September, just before summer officially ends. You can see the trailer at the International Movie Database for yourself, though, and see what you think. It may suit your meaty taste. (Just a little shark humour there; dumb, I know.)

I attended Sacramento’s first annual mermaid parade on Saturday and it was a wipe out! It had a bigger turn-out than what I expected considering that it was the very first of its kind in Sacramento. It was full of colourful costumes of both mermaid and mermen alike. Also, some pirates—the Pirates of Sacramento that is—and even a Viking warrior joined in the procession. It was kind of like carnival only with sea characters and not as wild, such as furniture being thrown out upper story windows as a Brazilian friend of mine had told me they do in Rio de Janeiro. (Although I’d probably risk getting hit by furniture just to see Rio’s carnival!). I’ll try to have some photos of it for you in my next post.

I have another one of my fiction stories below. Like my last one that I posted here at the Fantastic Site (which you can read here)I’m going to divide it into at least two postings. I hope you enjoy it. And please, do feel free to drop me comments about it.

I know I’ve been posting somewhat inconsistently for the last several months, which I apologise for greatly. I’ve had a lot of projects on my hands, including my book of short fiction that I’m presently working on which I hope to have published by the last week of November. But I’ll be sure to have Part Two of this story up by the first week of August so you won’t have to go back eyeing through Part One so much just to get what the second part is all about.

Happy reading, and until next time . . . !



The Bazaar

Steven Rose, Jr.



Monte Horta rushed pushing his overloaded cart down the infinite aisles of Wallace’s Bazaar. He was so absorbed in his shopping, as always, that he could not remember anything of his life from before he entered the doors of the new mega store. Even though he did not have a watch and did not see a clock anywhere, he knew it had been over an hour since he had been trying to find the front registers. No matter where he rolled his cart to, he could not even see the ends of the building. The landscape of shelves and racks, both loaded with factory packaged as well as non-packaged items, seemed to stretch into the horizon. However, Monte did finally remember something of his life as he rolled his cart into the women’s clothes section. The headless mannequin torso that he passed by in there reminded him of his girlfriend, Grace Salvador. It wore a pink, tight blouse much like one that Grace often wore. Grace’s favorite color was pink, especially when it came to blouses and sweaters which she often wore tight. From then on, Monte was even more desperate to find the front registers so he could pay for his things and get home. He had a date with Grace that evening and she was planning on staying the night as she did almost every weekend.

#

As Monte entered the electronics department, he noticed his multiple images of himself rolling their carts toward him from within the giant television screens. He remembered that he had passed by there only a little after entering the store. Relieved, he thought to himself, you’re approaching the front registers! So he continued rolling his cart in the direction he remembered he had come into the store from.

#

He thought he had come into the store from that direction. He wheeled his cart through the auto department. Then the kitchen appliance department. The bath towel department. By the time he rolled into the aisles of mirrors, he could still see no end to the store interior. He would have to ask a sales person in that section. As he strolled down an aisle between two rows of mirrors, he saw on both sides himself multiplied an infinite number of times: an infinite number of a single shopper wearing a Celtic dragon design shirt over a bulging stomach, pushing a cart overloaded with various items, every one of them a precious stone that he could not do without. Because there was such a myriad of mirrors that hung on the front side of the customer service counter, on the stand-alone wall in back of it and on the display shelf directly across from it, and because these mirrors infinitely multiplied both the counter and the other shoppers who were passing by with their overloaded carts, it took Monte several minutes to locate the clerk. The clerk was a small, young Asian Indian looking man, perfectly clean shaven. “Can I help you, sir?” he asked Monte enthusiastically.

Monte said, “Which way to the registers?”

The clerk offered, “I can ring that up for you here sir,” pointing to Monte’s treasure chest-on-wheels overflowing with brand new artifacts.

Monte hesitated. Then after realizing something, he said with appreciation, “Great.” He had just realized that if he paid for his stuff now it would give him one less thing to do when he would finally get to the front of the store. At least here there was no line. So he rolled the cart up to the small counter that stood hidden among the multiplied images of itself and its employee staffing it. However, as he rolled closer to the counter, he suddenly noticed himself multiplying and walking toward himself! As he flinched back from his multiple reflections, the clerk said, “This way, sir.”

Monte now sensed the clerk’s voice coming from in back of him. He spun around, dizzily, to find the real clerk and the real counter. The clerk laughed good humoredly. Monte, however, was in no mood for humor. He knew he must have been shopping inside that store for hours already. He had yet to get home, get a shower, dress and get his car washed for his date with Grace. He also knew he was going to go over his account again on his credit card. He would have to charge many of his purchases to his utilities account.

As the clerk shot the scan gun at the code bar of a box from Monte’s cart, Monte noticed the mirror: an “ancient” artifact, full body, very classic in its gold painted frame which was elaborately carved with nude young women, blissful babies and young satyrs—who had little pointed goatees and slight diabolical, mischievous looks in their tiny eyes—all dancing around the mirror in an oval. Some of the satyrs seemed to stare at Monte, saying, “Purchase our mirror and join us!” Others were blowing tiny flutes.

A unique piece of classical art, Monte thought, even though the mirror hung among many copies of itself on the rack. He had thrown many other modern day artifacts into the cart: a print of a shiny ’57 Chevy; a Nelly CD; a gold color neck chain; a silver color crucifix; etc. But, unlike the mirror, such artifacts could be excavated in any store. This mirror was nearly priceless compared to the many other items sold in chain stores such as Wallace’s Bazaar. Monte thought to himself, Ancient Greece and Rome, the Golden Age of Culture, right on my bedroom wall! Wouldn’t this be neat for Grace and I to wake up to, where we can actually see ourselves having sex! Better yet, he would hang it up on the ceiling directly above the bed. Then he realized that it would be just another charge to the utility account. But he so often doubted his own sexual performance even though he had had sex with Grace several times before. He smiled and thought to himself, as the old saying goes, mirrors never tell lies!

He said to the clerk, “Actually, I’d like to add another item.” The clerk told him to bring it to the counter. Monte walked over to the rack of classical mirrors and examined each closely. He loved classical art, and so he wanted to make sure he selected the one that looked to be the perfect replica of the original. But they all looked perfect, and he knew, with a sudden dissatisfaction that the original was lost among the infinite factory produced replicas somewhere either among or beyond the Wallace’s Bazaar chain. So he reluctantly grabbed a copy at random. Yet, his reluctant feeling was soothed by the re-occurring thought that within and under that mirror there would be romantic sex with Grace that night.

The only thing that did not have replicas within that department (although there were copies of it elsewhere throughout the store) was the giant photo portrait of the mega store’s founder, Narcissus Wallace. It hung on the stand-alone wall behind the counter. It portrayed the founder with an inhuman wide grin, a thick but precisely trimmed mustache, a peach colored face, and light brown hair parted to one side in the typical corporate executive’s style. Monte read the gold shiny commemoration tag at the bottom of the photo. The tag bore the founder’s name and, directly underneath the name, the date of his life span: “1949- “. He must have still been living. Monte had seen copies of that same portrait throughout the store, particularly on the pillar or the stand-alone wall in back of the customer service counter in each department. He also remembered seeing a copy looming in between two sets of double doors inside the entry way as he had walked into the store. However, he suddenly realized that that particularly copy seemed not to have quite the same facial expression as the one he was now examining. The facial expression of the portrait in the entry way was more of a smile of customer hospitality. The expression of the one here seemed to indicate that the founder was making sure he was providing his customers 100% satisfaction with their purchases. Yet it was an expression that consisted of a devious, “friendly” grin and a gaze of total self ambition which seemed to stab right into Monte’s soul.

After the clerk had rung up Monte’s items, and after Monte slid his card through the machine, he signed his life over to the store on the credit receipt and asked the clerk, “How do I get out of here?”

The clerk glared at him for several seconds before saying, “Any direction will take you where you want to go.”

Monte clarified, “So there’s an entrance on all sides of the store?”

The clerk nodded with a blank expression. Then he seemed to force a smile saying, “Have a nice day, sir.”

Monte pushed his loot in a direction he randomly chose because he could not remember the direction he came from. But it did not matter to him anymore since he felt more assured by an employee of the store that there was an entrance on all sides of the building.

However, by the time he rolled his cart into the glove department, he knew he had to have passed at least twenty other departments ever since he paid for his stuff. Now he was growing angry. He had to get home to meet his girlfriend and show her that mirror. Although he did not have the smallest hint of what the time was, he knew Grace must have been waiting for him at the house by now. She was far more patient than he, but for sure she was by now irritated and wondering where he was at. But the gloves would not let him go. First, they mockingly waved at him. Then they grabbed him. He realized that everything he had bought at Wallace’s Bazaar was for himself. The exception was the mirror, but he would be hanging that up in the bedroom of his house. He had bought nothing for Grace. He had never forgotten to buy at least one thing exclusively for her anytime he went shopping. For some reason, the abundance of discounted treasure in this new mega store made him forget about, as much as he had a hard time believing it, Grace. Grace who was as central to his life as the Lady of Fatima was as central to many of his old Portuguese relatives’ lives on his ancestral islands of Pico and Sao Jorge. Grace who was a rare living artifact because she wore the artifacts of the 1960s and 70s, yet artifacts that looked as though they came straight from the manufacturer. Because of this she was not the current Hollywood corporate reproduction that most girls were. Grace was not of this time or culture. A girl like Grace was the only thing he had wanted that nobody else had. If he had never met her, he would be suffering eternal loneliness even if while going with any of his former girlfriends with their celebrity model bodies and in-style clothes.

He selected one of the pairs of bright, pink gloves since Grace loved the color because it was fashionable in the 60s. However, as he reached to grab the gloves, the gloves suddenly grabbed him instead. For some reason, he felt that, even though he was now buying solely for Grace, he was buying for himself alone. He found these gloves attractive because they reminded him of the pink, tight turtlenecks, the pink tight slacks, the pink miniskirts and tights, and other such pink clothes Grace would wear more than any of her clothes of other colors. He thought, well maybe if I get her a color only she likes . . . But he still liked the pink gloves. Besides, he could not think of a color that she desired that he did not. So he bought gloves in every available color. There were over 20 colors. All those gloves laid their slim selves on his blubbery hand that reached out for them as though they were unifying in agreement to a common goal, that goal being to please Grace and therefore to please Monte. He charged them to his card at the department’s customer service booth. After doing so, he asked the girl with the dark complexion who had rung up his purchases how much further it was to the entrance. The female clerk said, in an annoyed manner much like that of the clerk’s in the mirror department, “Any direction you take you’ll find an entrance.”

Monte complained, “I know, but that’s not what I’m asking. What I’m asking is how much longer until I get to it.”

The clerk suggested, after hesitating several seconds, “Just keep walking.”
Annoyed, Monte asked while pointing to the direction he thought he had been walking in before he came to the glove department, “That way?”

The girl said, “Any direction. It all leads to the same place. And as far as your question about how much further it is, I don’t know. Once you’ve been working here practically forever, you forget how many shelves, racks or sections are from such and such point. Our main job here as far as direction goes is to point you in the direction of the department or section of the item you’re looking for. Like I said, if you just keep walking you’ll find an entrance.”

Her words sounded very promising, yet futile. He then asked impatiently, “All right, what time is it then?”

The girl shrugged, saying, “I’m sorry, I don’t’ have a watch.”

Frustrated, Monte tilted back his cart rotating it toward the direction he thought he remembered himself walking in. The cart’s front banged back down onto the carpet causing its metal spindles to ring like the slamming of a thousand jail cell doors. Monte shoved it away. The girl suggestively called to him, “Check with the people in the watch and clock department; it’s only a few aisles ahead.” He suddenly noticed several pairs of gloves on top of the shelves to both sides of him, all of them standing in a militant row, pointing their index fingers in the direction he was heading.

He had also noticed the copy of the portrait of Narcissus Wallace hanging up on the stand-alone wall behind the service counter. However, this particular copy portrayed the founder grinning and gazing with intentional mockery, rather than with façade friendliness or self ambition as the one hanging in the mirror department had. For a reason he was not sure of, Monte wanted to smash the one in the glove department. He felt like the founder himself was keeping him from Grace. But he knew that was impossible; the founder had never even seen him or Grace before.

#

After several departments and aisles, he finally arrived at the watch and clocks department. The repetitive ticking of a multitude of time devices was continuously sounding both simultaneously as well as at different intervals. Replicas of various makes of digital watches and clocks silently blinked on their minutes and seconds. Monte looked at one of the hand clocks that hung on the customer service booth’s stand-alone wall. It pointed out three o’clock. However, he knew it could not be right; although he could not remember what time he entered the store, he knew he had been inside it way past three. He checked the next clock down, a duplicate of the first one. It pointed out 5:40, which seemed to be more correct, but when he glanced at the other nearby clocks, digital and hand, they each read a remotely different time. He looked at the watches in the glass case. Same thing. Then a young Asian Indian looking woman asked in a very friendly manner, “May I help you find something today, sir?”

Monte stared at her in disbelief. But then he burst out a slight smile of delight saying, “Today? You mean it’s still daylight out?”

The woman said, looking confused, “Excuse me?”

Monte clarified, “What time is it? I can see your clocks here are display only.” He was feeling a bit of hope that it was not as late as he originally feared.

The woman said, “Oh, yes! Would you like to look at any of them?”

Monte said, “I already have all the clocks I need. I’m just interested in the time.”

The woman stated suggestively, “But you don’t have a watch. Because if you did, you would not be asking me the time now, would you?”

Monte felt trapped. He struggled to say, “I, uh, spent just about everything I could for today,” and gestured his hand toward his cart. In actuality, however, he was eager for a watch. He had just noticed the tiny crow’s feet on the woman’s otherwise smooth brown face. She was older than she originally looked, perhaps right on the edge of middle age. So it suddenly occurred to him that not only did he not have cash, but he did not have time. Even though he worked with the world’s money behind a counter in a bank several days a week, he never had enough cash. But now he was aware that he did not have enough time either. He did not have enough time to buy all the items of culture that he wanted, nor would he have enough time to have sex with Grace under the mirror that he was trying to get home; he had already turned twenty-one several days ago.

(To be continuted . . . )

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Movie Review: Thor

Paramount Pictures










Sorry for not posting in such a long while, everyone. I've probably said this before but will say it again, I've had several writing projects going on and so haven't had time to post here more frequently. But in those times of waiting please feel free to look at my other stuff at Examiner.com, in which my most recent article was posted there only a few days ago.

But here's film review I wrote especially for all of you who like visiting this site particularly.



Directors Kenneth Branagh and Joss Whedon's Thor is Marvel Comics’ first big screen movie adaptation of a comic book based on a super hero of ancient myth. Yet while the movie sticks to the root elements of the Norse mythic origins, it also portrays the title character (played by Chris Hemsworth) through the science fiction genre of story telling like most super hero comic books have done. So as with the comic book series it is adapted from, Thor uses the elements of both fantasy and science fiction effectively to portray the God of Thunder in a modern day setting.

The film looks at the mythic origin of Thor including his rebellion against his father Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins), the supreme god’s, orders not to provoke a war with the frost giants. As punishment, Odin casts him out of Asgard, the realm of the gods in Norse mythology, to dwell on Earth as a mortal. Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s adopted brother, is the trickster god who uses his older brother’s punishment to his self centered advantage by abusing his power of the throne of Asgard, an inheritance originally having been given to Thor until he betrays his father.
Thor’s hammer, named Mjolnir, involves a mythic archetype that it shares with King Arthur’s Sword in the Stone: an enchanted weapon attainable only by a person worthy of it. In Thor’s case, the weapon, Mjolnir, is embedded in stone in the New Mexican desert where Thor lands after being exiled. But, obviously, he is not worthy of Mjolnir at this point. Because this is an artifact of the gods, Earth mortals cannot unbind the hammer. Stranded on Earth with out his powers, Thor is nearly helpless both against the government agency, SHIELD, that attempts to excavate the hammer for research as well as against Loki. In order for him to regain his powers, he must prove himself worthy to his father and the rest of Asgard again.

The fantasy elements of divine powers and a magical hammer have always been with the Thor myth. However, when Thor made his comic book debut with Marvel in the 1960s, science fiction modernized the God of Thunder. This was the era in comic book history known as the Silver Age. As the preceding Golden Age of comics (the era when super hero comics began) came to a close around the mid to late 1950s, experiments with the atom bomb influenced much science fiction literature, film and television. The ideas of science fiction were utilized in super hero comics both old and new. As a result, many of the newer characters in the 1960s were ones whose powers were born from atomic energy, characters such as Spider-Man and the Hulk. But of course, being a god of ancient myth, Thor’s powers were not born from the high tech experiments of such energy. So to fit this Norse deity into a modern day setting dealing with scientific phenomena as the case was with most other super heroes, the comic book creators combined the concepts of advanced science and technology with the concept of divine power. This idea is reflected in the movie when Thor says to Natalie Portman’s character, “Your ancestors called it magic, but you call it science; well I come from a place where they’re one and the same.”

Needless to say, we’ve far advanced technology and science since the 1960s, and so the movie can be no more less science fictional than the comic book it’s adapted from. The gods in this film have power and technology incomprehensible to the humans of earth, yet seen as advanced science by the three scientists--Dr. Eric Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), Dr. Jane Foster (Portman), and her intern Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings)--who befriend Thor. When the scientists observe the vortex in the sky that Thor is cast down to Earth through, the scene has the appearance of an extra terrestrial sighting. When he reveals to the scientists that he is an exiled god from Asgard, they consider the possibilities of an alternative universe--a theory which is a major theme in much of today’s science fiction story telling, including television and literature. As the movie climbs toward the climax in a cosmic battle on Earth another science fiction element, one taken from the comic book, is used: the robot character. Aided by the evil frost giants, Loki sends a gargantuan robotic monster, which looks like a giant suit of armor made of steel bands, to destroy the humans of Earth.

However, the movie isn’t exactly a scientifically watered down interpretation of Norse mythology. Besides the fantastical mythic elements mentioned above, there are also battles against giants and one against a dragon. The gods of Asgard do not only battle the frost giants but Thor’s siblings fight a dragon (one that breathes frost) on the giants’ arctic world. The giants? Well, they don’t look much bigger than the gods or mortals, but in the earth scenes they were not near enough to the humans to show any contrast in size. Whether this was intentional for a realist trend or not, it’s hard to say.

But the realism definitely comes out in the movie’s other visual effects making the viewer experience the story rather than just see it. And it doesn’t even need the 3-D to achieve this as yours truly discovered while watching the 2-D version! Our belief is suspended, especially in the scenes of Asgard which consists of a city made of gold and a rainbow bridge connecting it to the gate to the outer realm. However, unlike in the comic book, the bridge has more of an appearance of a giant compact disk cut to the center from one side and then rolled out into a straight line rather than of an arc of multi-coloured light. You would think the bridge would look more like the latter with CGI ruling cinema’s special effects.

The acting and dialogue is not bad, considering that the movie is based on a traditional super hero comic book. Because of this, the pretentious humor can be argued to go with the movie. For example, when their expedition van accidentally hits Thor one of the female scientists asks, “Am I legally liable for this, or are you?” The relation between Thor and Foster turn to that of romance rather quickly, but what do we expect? It’s a movie based on a form of escape fiction. The costuming of the God of Thunder stays relatively true to the comic book, especially the red cape and the four disc “button” breast shield. However, his winged helmet seems to be limited to ceremonial events such as his inheritance ceremony rather than used in battle.

Putting a hero of ancient myth in a modern setting in comic books and movies and adding modern scientific and technological issues and ideas to these stories relates these heroes to our own times that such issues have effected. Comic books do this best, and a movie that does this best is one that is based on a comic book such as Marvel’s Thor. Can a movie with an original story and original characters do this? Because Thor topped off at the box office during its opening weekend, it may inspire such a new trend for myth-based films.



That's all for now people. If you don't see me here in the next week or two, look for me at Examiner.com.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Birthday Wish

I just wanted to be sure to make this birthday wish to a TV/movie star who has not only been a favorite science fiction actor of mine, but a favorite actor and performer of mine period. Besides his performance in the Star Trek franchise, there have been countless other movies and television series that his work has been absolutely fantastic in. One of these is the hosting and narrating he did in the 1970s paranormal/strange phenomena documentary TV series In Search of . . . So . . .



Happy Birthday, Leonard "Mr. Spock" Nimoy !

and may you continue to live long and prosper.








Sunday, March 20, 2011

Return of the TV Horror Movie Hosts

Cinema Insomnia 10 Year Anniversary: TV horror host Mr. Lobo looks up
Photo: Eric Lobo




I apologize for being gone from the Fantastic Site for so long. It's been a very busy month for me. I'm trying to resume weekly posts.

Many of you probably remember when horror movies that aired on TV were hosted by someone. Remember Elvira Mistress of the Dark's Movie Macabre. If you're a native Sacramentan like me you may be old enough to remember Bob Wilkin's show that screened both B-rated as well as classic horror and sci fi movies. These TV hosts I go for way more than Oprah, Montel Williams, and don't even get me started on Jerry Springer's televised freak show! These TV horror movie hosts were mostly popular in the 1970s and early '80s as were many others going as far back as the early 1950s. Well TV horror hosts are not an extinct species. Below are some links to today's generation of horror hosts, many who's shows you can see on the Web!

http://www.cinemainsomnia.com/

http://www.100ymm.com/

http://vimeo.com/carnivalofhorror

Also you can read my article about a streaming television site of horror hosts at Examiner.com.

Until next time . . .

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Edgar Allen Poe, Sci Fi Writer?

Last week's post was about the Poe house and museum under threat of closure due to lack of funding. I talk about it a little more in my latest Examiner.com article, but not a whole lot, mind you. However, what I do talk about a whole lot more is Poe's science fiction.



What? You didn't know Poe wrote science fiction in addition to his many horror stories of the supernatural? Well then you need to read a lot more of his work!

I mention a few of Poe's science fiction titles in the article, but you can find more titles by checking Amazon.com for Harold Beaver's The Science Fiction of Edgar Allen Poe and either purchase this collection of Poe's sci fi stories or look at the table of contents in the book's virtual sample pages and see what those titles are. If you go the first route, you'll have a very informing and insightful introduction and commentary by the editor to read. If you go the second route then you can read the stories in a complete works collection of the author if you have one, and if you don't have one you can check one out at your local public library. If your local public library doesn't have a copy of a complete works, well good luck hunting for the titles while journeying from collected works to collected works. In doing so you may find other great books or authors along the way, which is the great thing about going to an actual library or actual book store as opposed to merely ordering a selected few books that you're searching for on online bookstores such as Borders.com and BarnesandNoble.com, and you can feel the tangible possibilities rather than just see them on a screen.

Here's the link to the article: http://www.examiner.com/sci-fi-in-sacramento/the-closing-of-baltimore-s-poe-house-and-museum


Take Scare!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Save a Piece of Literary History

They say the Recession is dying out, and that may be true in a sense, but most of us would agree that we're still seeing the impact. Many of us would agree that we're still feeling the impact! The sad thing is that what has really been getting cut or at least threatened to be cut are many art and literary programs. Many public libraries have had to reduce their hours which has been definitely the case with the one in my town of the Woodland. In addition to libraries, museums have been closing up and that includes the closing of one of Davis, California's Explorit Science Center locations.

Further out from my home area of Sacramento--like way, way out--a museum is in danger of having its doors closed and that is the Edgar Allen Poe museum in Baltimore, Maryland. This includes the Father of American horror's house that he resided in when he was alive and living in Baltimore. This would be really sad to see these literary historical sights shut down for eternity and God only knows perhaps even demolished (I shudder to even just mention the possibility).

But like with all things, there is hope. The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore has a petition form set up on the Web that you can sign to save these important sites of not just gothic horror history, but literary history in general. I signed the petition, and, especially if you're a horror fan like me and even more especially if you're a Poe fan like me, I hope you sign the petition too. Yes, the economy is tough, and priorities have to be taken, but even a minimal of funding for the museum could help; progress may be very slow, but it can pay off in the long run. I don't think the petition sight is asking for funding, since that comes from, I believe the state of Maryland, or maybe federal government or maybe even both (honestly I really don't remember, I apologise). But petitioning can do a lot.

Until next time . . .

(If the above link to the petition does not work, you can try clicking on or cutting and pasting the address: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-the-poe-house-and-museum-in-baltimore/ )

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bad Space Epic Film, or Good?

Hello, All!

For those of you who love B-rated sci fi movies (or any genre of B-rated flicks) or you hate them so much you just like to watch them as a means of masochism, you might be interested in this. This was made in the era of the premiere of the Star Wars Saga, the late '70s, and so is probably one of Star Wars's knock-offs.

Let me know how good (because you think it's so bad) or how bad (because you think it really is bad) it is and whether you loved it because it was so bad that it was good, or you absolutely hated it for the very reason that it was bad. Personally I haven't seen this clip myself, but I'm going to watch it tonight. I just happened to have encountered it on io9 while doing research for one of my Examiner.com articles (hopefully to be published by tomorrow evening). So it will be just as interesting for me to see how terrible it is as it will probably be for you. Oh, and you may want to read the article that presents this clip; it's really interesting.

Until next week . . .

http://io9.com/#!5752459/one-of-the-absolute-worst-space-battle-sequences-weve-ever-seen

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Finally, It's Here! The Third and Final Part To The Puppet Show!

Well, everybody, finally it's all taken care of. I finally got the software reinstalled that I needed along with some compatibility software that was required in order to post the final part to my short story. I know many of you waited for this for a long time, and I apologise for the long delay. But since I'm back on track pretty much, I'll have a new blog entry here each Wednesday again, occasionally others on additional days of the week. You may want to skim through the two earlier parts of the story, Parts I and II, so you can fit this final installment into context better and more easily. As I said, it's been a long time.

Until next week . . .



The Puppet Show (Part III)
by Steven Rose, Jr.

#

The wind never came back. There was no moon nor any stars that night. None of the lights in Woodvale ever came on. While Manuel wandered blindly throughout the blackness of the town hoping to run into a relative or acquaintance (but never even running into a stranger), he slightly remembered seeing something very familiar in the old man’s workshop. There had been a group of puppets resembling several members of Manuel’s family–his parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, etc.–hanging up on one of the walls. He lied down on some itchy, hard grass somewhere (he could not see where). The grass felt like plastic, like the artificial lawns in the house displays at the hardware stores.

He would fall asleep and wait till morning to find out what the cause of this total black-out was. However, he was very restless; it seemed like it was taking forever for the sun to rise.

#

Although he woke up that morning somewhat stiff, as though he had not moved his limbs in years, Manuel rose out of bed feeling strangely renewed. His room seemed like that of a stranger’s, even though he had been living in that house ever since birth. The sun shined brightly through the frosty white curtains. The hands of the Japanese movie memorabellic prehistoric bird clock pointed to about 10:37. He had just enough time to shower, change and get to the theatre for his shift. The strange dream about Marianne and the puppet of her was very difficult to banish from his mind. He recalled her having a Spanish name in the dream and Mexican features. No, Asian features. Or were they Black features? Perhaps it was none of those or all of them; he could not recall. He wondered if it was last night’s Lon Chaney movie that caused him to have the weird nightmare. Even if so, he would never give up watching classic horror. Classic horror films, especially Lon Chaney ones, were his life next to live theatre.

As he rode his bike through the town, even though the buildings and houses looked as they always had, they yet looked so unknown to him. It was as though he had just arrived in a town he never even knew existed. Even when he arrived at the live theatre, he felt as though he were seeing it for the very first time. As long as it’s not another flat, he thought to himself jokingly.

#

Nobody was in the darkened lobby. Neither was there anybody in the auditorium or on the stage. He walked over to the flat depicting a live theatre of a town, much like his own town, that the play of the last two weeks had been set in. Suddenly from around the other side of the flat, Marianne appeared, crowbar gripped in hand. She delightedly said, “Oh, hi Manuel! You’re just in time to help us tear down the set for the next play.” Her skin was very fair, almost pale in contrast to the backstage blackness, but her cheeks and tip of her nose were brightly rose colored; it was almost as though the rose colors were painted on her face. Also her hair was so bright of a blonde against the black background it looked like yellow paint.
Manuel said, without expression, “What do I do?”

Marianne said, enthusiastically, “Just get a crowbar and I’ll show you.”
He grabbed a crowbar out of the tool box. He said very little at the time because he was still shaken up from Marianne’s (Mariana’s) cold attitude in last night’s dream. Yet, he was glad to know that he was working with the real Marianne.

The painted theatre entrance to the flat beared a bright yellow sign above it, that read in archaic calligraphic lettering, “Woodvale Opera House.” The two young people started pumping their crowbars facing each other from each end of the flat. Manuel asked, “Where’s everybody else?”

After several heaving breaths of exhaustion, Marianne said, “I don’t know. But I hope they get over here soon. Al wants this all torn down by this afternoon because he wants to move on to the next show.”

He remembered the old man in the dream. All too vividly. He confirmed, “You’re in the next show too, aren’t you?” As he asked this, he suddenly noticed, as he had several times before, how pronounced and ideal Marianne’s features were: such a curved nose, such thick lips especially for an Anglo girl, and such wide eyes with the brightest blue in them. Nobody could exist with such features. This is why Manuel found her so attractive.

After gaining her breath from the pumping, she answered, invitingly, “We’re all in the next show; we always are.” Then Manuel understood last night’s “dream”. He suddenly felt more comfortable than ever with Marianne, in fact, with the entire theatre. He felt as though he had just arrived home from a journey that had lasted most of his life up to this point, perhaps even longer. He knew there would be many more journeys after that.

There was a loud cracking sound of wood, then the fall with the thundering “CRASH!”

Saturday, January 8, 2011

In the Meantime . . .

Hey, everybody!

Well I finally got my laptop back and it's working good as new. However, the techs who worked on it were not able to recover my MS Word and so I wasn't able to convert "The Puppet" show successfully. When I would try to open it up with Notepad or Wordpad it would open revealing alien characters--no, not alien characters as in sci fi story characters, alien characters as in unfamiliar code due to the file not being compatible enough. But do not fear, do not frown! I have software on its way that can fix the problem and therefore reinstall my MS Word. So I'll have part three of the story posted as soon as possible. So hang tight; don't let the bummer bugs bite!

In the meantime . . .

I saw Tron: the Legacy just before Christmas sometime. It was so out'a sight! I wasn't aware until I saw it that it wasn't a remake of but a sequel to the 1980s original. Unfortunately I didn't have time to look for a copy of the the original and so I had to view the film on its own grounds in which it did perfectly well on! However, the 3-D effects could have been better, I thought. More on this next time; I'll give a full review of it.

I hope the holidays were great for everyone, and are going by great for everyone of cultural backgrounds that celebrate holidays right after Christmas and New Year's. We're such a diverse society and that's what makes this country so great! It's a lot like the speculative genre; there's an infinity of things to discover in all of us here, especially as far as multiculturalism goes.

Until next week . . .