Posted in History

Monday Miscellanea, 10/31/22

Nonfiction November

Text: Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

Since I decided to do NaNoWriMo in November, I realized I probably don’t have time for proper weekly Nonfiction November posts, but I do want to give a shout out to the event and share what I’ve been reading this year. The month-long event kicks of at Doing Dewey, one of my favorite nonfiction blogs.

I’ve read 18 nonfiction books so far this year, which accounts for a little over 40% of my book reading. As usual, I’ve read a few magic-related books: Derek Delgaudio’s Amoralman and Mark Edward’s Psychic Blues, as well as a couple rereads. I’ve also read a two LGBTQ+ memoirs (Spinning by Tillie Walden and Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe) and a book on queerness through the lens of horror movies (It Came from the Closet, edited by Joe Vallese, review pending). Those of you who might know me from years past: I also finally read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote!

As usual, I look forward to everyone else’s posts and my TBR pile growing.

Ultimate Frisbee

A list of standings for ultimate frisbee teams.

My fall league team, Pullitzers, has continued its winning streak. Personally, I’ve been playing fairly well, which is nice. Tomorrow we meet the other undefeated team; that will be a test. We also have a game on Thursday. (The league theme is awards/awards shows/other contests; hence, the punny names)

We’ve started preparations for our annual tournament, New Year Fest, which takes place at the end of January and hosts teams from across the country. Our long time tournament director is stepping down, so there is some added stress as we get a new TD on board.

Writing Check-In

NaNoWriMo banner for 2022

This post is a bit late because I finished the draft of my “California Gothic” short story today. I wanted a draft done before NaNoWriMo. Procrastinator, I am. I did work on it last week, but did some NaNo prep too. The draft isn’t great, but it’s done, coming in at ~5500 words. Obviously, I’m letting it sit until December.

National Novel Writing Month starts in 90 minutes. I’ll probably kick off at midnight.

No new rejections.

Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

Reading Notes, 10/27/22

Cover: It Came from the Closet, ed. by Joe Vallese
Cover: The Hacienda by Isabel Canas
Cover: Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Reading

Having a reading hangover after readathon. Or at least a reviewing hangover. So here’s what I’m currently reading:

  • It Came from the Closet, edited by Joe Vallese – I have a handful of essays left from this anthology. Should have it finished by next week.
  • The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas – My “night time” book. A checkout from the library. (Note to Eric, who will probably read this: this is not the book I spoke you about the other day with that autistic character. I sent that one back to the library when this one came off hold. No hate-reading for me, at this time.)
  • Moby-Dick by Herman Melville – Finally started my reread of Moby-Dick as my “morning” book.

Challenge Updates

Beat the Backlog: It’s been 14 days since I acquired a book.

Posted in Other Media

What I’ve Watched, 10/26/22

Such a melodramatic trailer!

Movies

Rope (1948)
I had alternately heard that Rope, Alfred Hitchcock’s “long take, no cuts” experiment was a boring flop or tensely exciting. FWIW, I didn’t feel the sort of tension that usually comes with long shots, probably because, while there are very few cuts, the camera is still relatively stationary. The one unmasked cut that does occur stands out in its effectiveness. Plot- and performance-wise, I enjoyed it. I found it pretty funny in places.

Dead Silence (2007)
I’ve been playing streaming service tag with this film for years. This is Wan and Whannell’s follow-up to Saw (2004) and someone somewhere said something good about it once. But apparently only once. I have a problem with Dead Silence having a 20% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes while Wan’s Malignant (2021) is 76%. Unlike Malignant, Dead Silence maintains its melodramatic, campy tone all the way through.

Deadstream (2022)
I had heard some buzz about Deadstream, but I didn’t know anything about it aside from the social media aspect. I kind of expected it to be along the lines of Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (2018) or a funnier Grave Encounters (2011). I did not expect it to be so very Raimi-esque. Deadstream has a long set up. Twenty minutes in I was dubious. Fifty minutes in I was laughing because many of the things set up earlier were being paid off. Enjoyment of this film might very much be linked to whether you find the main character of Shawn annoying or not.

TV

Queer for Fear (2022)
I’ve been a little on the fence about this series, especially since I started reading It Came from the Closet. Much of the commentary is fairle surface-level; emphasizing the usual usual thoughts on otherness and queer coding. But episode two had a really great interview with Oz Perkins about his father, Anthony Perkins, and how Norman Bates in Psycho was maybe too revealing for necessarily closeted Perkins. The sequels, especially Psycho III, which Anthony Perkins directed, seemed to give him some freedom.

Posted in History

Monday Miscellanea, 10/24/22

Readathon Wrap-Up

Saturday was Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon. I managed about 21.25 hours, heading to bed just after 2am my time. That is pretty much how readathon always goes for me, though I only took a short nap in the morning.

Square banner for Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon

What did I read?

  • 44% of It Came from the Closet, edited by Joe Vallese
  • 41% of My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
  • 3 articles
  • 6 “episodes” of WHEREWOLF
  • 2 short stories

I probably would have been better off DNFing My Heart is a Chainsaw and moving on to something else. The book just wasn’t clicking with me. I kept expecting it to pick up, but it didn’t.

Ultimate Frisbee

Club nationals were this past weekend and I kept some of the games on in the background during readathon and semi-watched finals on Sunday. There are two things that are currently bothering me about club ultimate: vert stack and the amount of contact that is occurring.

My problem with vertical stack is a pet peeve. I find it boring to watch; even the best teams stagnate and cuts out of vert stack are prone to picks and other stoppages of play. As a player, regimented vertical stack is also difficult to run at a recreational level because it requires an amount of talent, athleticism, and organization that really doesn’t exist at a community league level. That hasn’t stopped many club-level league captains from trying unsuccessfully to get it to work.

Likewise, the concern over amount of contact occurring might be because I’m an aging player who doesn’t want to deal with younger players who find bidding into a cutter to be an acceptable thing, even if they “got to the disc first.” But I feel like there’s been some disregard for ultimate being a non-contact sport. Additionally, I was very surprised at how often foul calls were contested, even when the foul was pretty obvious. It feels like players are maybe being coached to contest instead of taking responsibility for a bad decision.

Writing Check-In

I’m reorganizing my blog with separate posts for movie-watching and reading, but I haven’t decided if I want a separate post for writing. I don’t regularly have much to say about my writing other than usually brief updates. So, my Writing Check-In will stay here for the moment.

Square banner for NaNoWriMo 2022

Writing went pretty well last week. I added 4000 words to “California Gothic.” I don’t know what I think of those words, but I need to remember that I can’t edit and polish a draft if I don’t *have* a draft. Today, I’m going to reread my notes and what I’ve written and outline the rest what I need to do for that story. I’d like to finish the draft over the next two or three days and take the rest of the week to riff on my NaNoWriMo project.

And, yes, fine. Here we go. I’m going to do NaNoWriMo. Even though it starts on a Tuesday, so help me. View all my messy NaNo journeys.

One new rejection for “The Aeronaut’s Wife.”

Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon, October 2022

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon image

TBR

Mid-Event Survey

  1. What are you reading right now? I rolled randomly for a while, but I’m now going between It Came from the Closet and My Heart is a Chainsaw.
  2. How many books have you read so far? I’m such a slow reader; I haven’t finished any.
  3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the readathon? I’m just going to continue what I have going on.
  4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I’m courting interruption by having some ultimate frisbee games in the background.

Opening Survey

  1. What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Tempe, AZ
  2. Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? It Came from the Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror, edited by Joe Vallese. I’ve never read from a book of essays during readathon before.
  3. Which snack are you most looking forward to? A Totino’s Party “Pizza” for lunch.
  4. Tell us a little something about yourself! Other than reading, I like to watch movies and play ultimate frisbee.

Posted in Female Author, Male Author, Nonfiction, Short Story

Reading Notes, 10/20/22

(I’m playing around with my blog organization once again. This post will be a review and some repetition of my Monday post.)

Cover: Teller of Tales by Daniel Stahower
Cover: My Hear is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
Cover: It came from the Closet

Read

Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle by Daniel Stashower

I purchased this book in 2005 in Madison, Wisconsin. We were in Madison for the World Fantasy Convention and during an introvert recharge break, I wandered around downtown and into a quiet bookstore. At the time, I hadn’t gotten into stage magic and spiritualism, so I bought Teller of Tales only due to my long-standing love of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. As this book sat on my shelves for a few years, I developed a couple questions about Conan Doyle.

First, how could Conan Doyle have so much disdain for his most famous creation? As a struggling writer, Conan Doyle’s ingratitude for his success struck me as arrogant. Teller of Tales showed me the breadth of Conan Doyle’s writings. I didn’t realize that, in addition to his voluminous non-fiction, Conan Doyle wrote well-researched historical fictions, which were his pride and joy. For example, he spent two year researching and writing The White Company, taking a month off to write Sign of the Four for the money. Which have you read? So, I get it. A little. But I’m still annoyed at Conan Doyle for believing that genre works are inferior.

Second, how could Conan Doyle create the logical mind of Sherlock Holmes, but be so uncritical of spiritualism? I had always assumed Conan Doyle’s involvement in spiritualism was mostly due to the death of his first wife and the family’s losses during WWI and the 1918 flu epidemic, but his interest preceded those events. He had long been disillusioned with traditional religions and by 1918/1919, he had become an ardent believer in spiritualism. And there really isn’t an answer for it.

Stashower is obviously a fan of Conan Doyle, but the narrative remains pretty even-handed. Teller of Tales is very readable. I enjoyed it and took my time with it.

Short Stories

Been reading from this list from Book Riot. So far, the stand out has been “There Are No Monsters on Rancho Buenavista” by Isabel Cañas. I’m a sucker for a good folk horror.

Reading

As I mentioned on Monday, this Saturday is Dewey’ Readathon. I’m not going to make it the full 24-hours (I’m a realist), but I’m looking forward to it. I finished the Conan Doyle book this morning, so I’m kind of between books. On my TBR for Readathon:

  • My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
  • It Came from the Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror, edited by Joe Vallese
  • Plus, the last couple short stories from the Book Riot list and more that I’ve bookmarked.

Challenge Updates

Beat the Backlog

Goal: Read 25 books from my own shelves. Avoid creating future “backlog.”
Progress: Teller of Tales makes book 21 for Beat the Backlog. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d get 20 read, it’s all win from here. And it’s been 7 days since I acquired a book.

Posted in History

Monday Miscellanea, 10/18/22

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Yes, Monday Miscellanea on a Tuesday. It happens sometimes. I needed to format and post the schedule for our ultimate frisbee league yesterday and I wanted a good day of fiction writing. With only so many hours and so much Katherine energy, my Monday post rightly took a back seat.

Reading

I’m still reading Teller of Tales and short stories. My two new checkouts are mostly for Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, which is this weekend. More on that on Friday, or so.

Deal Me In

Week 41: K♠️ – ‘tragedy of the sugarcane ghost‘ by Desirée Winns
My Deal Me In picks have been very RIP appropriate, but I guess that’s what happens when you populate at least a 4th of your list with recommendations from a horror blog. I admit, I’m usually a little put out by writings that don’t follow the conventions of punctuation (I’m looking at you Cormac McCarthy) but “tragedy of the sugarcane ghost” hooked me and reeled me in.

Shelf Maintenance

Requested an ARC on the 13th, so it’s been five days since I last acquired a book.

Writing

I decided during the first week of October that I wasn’t interested in cutting down/massively changing “California Gothic” (formerly “Chess Gothic,” better title TBD). Instead, last week, I figured out an ending to the original concept and decided I wanted to finish a draft of it by the end of the month. I didn’t get much writing done last week because getting ready for a friend’s wedding took a lot of my time and energy. And because, honestly, I didn’t make writing a priority.

It’s a little strange to think about doing NaNoWriMo next month, writing 1667 words/day, when I haven’t written more than a couple thousand in a week for a long time. It feels a little like if I hadn’t played ultimate frisbee for five years and then decided to sign up for a savage weekend tournament. To an extent, I want to do it to force myself back into a working relationship with my writing. To make it a priority. Hopefully, like playing a tournament when out of shape, I don’t injure myself in the process.

Anyway, this week, I want to add at least 4K to “California Gothic.” That would double its length and possibly finish the story, but I’m open to meandering and and cutting later. This is still a pretty meager goal, but it’s something.

All three finished stories are out on submission; no fresh responses.