Sunday, April 29, 2007

Yes, I Know What I Said Before

I'm almost finished with the second draft of Hero Go Home. Yes, yes, I know what I said before about putting it aside to write a better Digger novel. But even in that entry, I mentioned that as soon as I decided to stop, my block seemed to disappear.

Here's the weird thing: when I wrote Blue Falcon, lo these many years ago, it took me almost exactly one year to write the first draft. I thought the second draft would go much faster, but once again, it was almost exactly a year.

When I wrote the first draft of Hero Go Home, I seemed to have learned a lot about how to write novels. Instead of a year, the first draft only took about seven months, from November 1, 2005 to May 27, 2006. I figured I'd knock out the revision over the summer, get the book in the mail by fall.

Instead, here I am with about 10,000 words to go, and it's looking as if it will be within a week or two of the one year mark by the time I finish. A year again. What the hell?

Oh yeah, and speaking of Digger, it looks as if Agog! is finally going to publish the DaiKaiju sequels this year. I'll be in the number three anthology, due for publication in October. I have mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, it's cool to finally end that suspense and add another publishing credit to my resume, not to mention the fact that every published Digger story increases the potential audience for the novel. On the other hand, the story is approaching three years old now, I think, and it's not my best work. Both Digger and I have grown since the story was written. I'm tempted to ask them if I can polish it up a bit before publication.

Creepy Memory Lane

When I was a kid, I loved scary stuff, but I hated being scared. So I would simultaneously seek out and avoid creepy stuff. There was a local horror movie show that would come on at midnight on KOCO channel 5 in Oklahoma City, called "Nightmare." It would open with this guy in a long robe with a scythe and a hood hiding his face. He'd walk through a fake graveyard, CO2 fog clinging to the ground, and there was this creepy narration, and then he would pull down his hood to reveal that his face was a skull, then the movie would start.

That creeped the shit out of me. I would watch the movie, but I would close my eyes and turn down the volume, or else turn the channel knob just for a couple of seconds right before he would drop that hood. I remember one night, I fell asleep waiting for "Rodan" to start, and woke up just as Skull Guy was saying, "I hope you enjoyed the movie." I got even more creeped out than usual, knowing that the entire terrifying spectacle (I hadn't seen "Rodan" yet, so I didn't know how comical it really was) had played out right there in the room with me, without my being aware of it. Brrr....

I'm reminded of this tonight, because when I was a kid, my friends were constantly telling me about this cool scary stuff they'd either seen on TV or heard on the radio. One was "Johnny Got His Gun," which I never really watched all the way through, but I've seen bits of it on TV. The first time I saw it for myself, though, or bits of it anyway, was in the video for the Metallica song, "One." The kids at school would go on and on about the dude with no face tapping Morse code with his head, "Kill me. Kill me. Kill me."

Another one was "The Vulture," a Z-grade movie starring Akim Tamiroff, about a guy who turns himself into a hideous bird-man to kill his enemies (and I should mention here that there were a lot of commercials for horror movies that just terrified me as a kid--"War of the Gargantuas," "Dracula vs. Frankenstein," "Mad Doctor of Blood Island"--where I couldn't believe the actual movies were so cheesy and cheap-looking when I finally saw them years later). I still have never seen that one.

There was a third, a legendary song called "D.O.A.," about this guy who dies in a crash. I remember specifically being told a lyric about his arm feeling numb, and he looks down and nothing's there. It hit the charts briefly in 1971, when I was 8-9, and though I occasionally tried to listen for it, it was never on. The crazy thing was, for years afterward, I not only never heard the song, but never ran into anyone else who'd even heard of it.

And then, tonight, I'm listening to Lileks's last few Diner podcasts, and he's recapping some Seventies songs, and BAM! "D.O.A." in all its cheesy, creepy glory. As death pop goes, it's not awful. It's certainly upfront: no tiptoeing around the subject, couching things in code language. The guy's dying, his girlfriend's dead, end of story. "One" is a creepy video, but the song is sort of bombastic and dull. This song is simplistic- not scary, but certainly cold.

And then there's "I'm Cold," by Whale. Whale was this weird little Swedish group. They put out an awesome single called "Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe," a wall-of-sound assault with a video featuring their hot female singer in braces and polka dots. Their EP was followed up by a very uneven album called "We Care." None of the songs, except for "Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe," is very good.; the lead singer has an affected cutesy style, and the backup singers are tone-deaf. Everything sounds kind of cheap and off. Until you get to the next to last cut on the disc, and then there's this weird little number, with Cia Berg singing these spaced out lyrics in her little-girl voice, and it's sort of delicate and lovely until you realize she's singing about being trapped in a car after a crash, going into shock as the car burns, and this gospel chorus rises up in the background as she sings, sounding like they're taking her soul straight to heaven, and it is one of the eeriest fucking songs I've ever heard, seriously.

You can tell that "D.O.A." has got my mind going in a lot of directions, all of them backward. But I'm telling you, what a discovery to finally hear that song after over 35 years.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Comics Come To Life

So yesterday, I see this story about a scientist discovering 'kryptonite.'

And today, I see this. Hmmm...

Planet with higher gravity than Earth, orbiting a red sun...

Looks like we discovered Krypton at the same time.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Earth Day

For their Earth Day issue, Urban Tulsa (a mostly-unreadable free weekly 'newspaper') this week features on their cover She-Hulk as played by Mary Steenburgen.