Monthly Archives: April 2021
I just finished reading Julie Buntin’s Marlena.
The novel tells the story of Cat and a dark bond she shared with her friend, Marlena, when they were high schoolers in Minnesota. As an adult living a swank life in New York City, Cat thinks she’s left it all behind—until one day, someone from their shared past asks to meet. As those unsettling months resurface, Cat learns that, thankfully, it really is true that you can’t go home again—but sometimes, just remembering is bad enough.
Oddly, the reason I found this book was because I was working on a short story, and I needed a novel that my main character could read that would contribute to my piece’s single effect. My plan was just to grab a title that’d make sense, but I popped open the Amazon preview and was sucked right in (I know this book has been listed for prizes and has also been named Book of the Year in several media outlets, but honestly, I don’t go by that. Suck me in and keep me there. That’s the only thing, for me, that counts).
Marlena flows Read the rest of this entry
Remember all those tiny newspapers I was making? I finished them! I made 320 sets, which means 640 total (two per set). I really enjoyed listening to documentaries or watching TV with my family while I worked on them, and shocked myself when I got them all finished in just three weeks.
Anyway, the tiny newspapers will accompany this year’s holiday chapbook, which is my “Christmas Card” to friends and family (if you’re not on my postal mailing list and would like to be, please drop me a line through my Contact Page). This year’s story is “Nothing to See Here,” and is set in 1986 between the Challenger and Chernobyl disasters.
I’d had the Tomy Smaller Home & Garden (also known as Tomy Smaller Home after a lawsuit) dollhouse as a kid, and loved it to death (more on my current quest to replace the whole thing in future posts). All of the furniture was well made, and there were a couple of unique things about it: it was 1:16 size (most dollhouses are 1:12, and to give you a better mental snapshot, Barbie is 1:6); in addition, its design was “modern” (at the time, that meant extremely 1970s/early 1980s in its décor).
My favorite piece, for some reason, was the Bentwood Rocker. I really fantasized about owning a real one when I grew up (not anymore, peeps! I’m over it, just FYI). I needed to take a photograph for the cover of the chapbook, and I thought the rocker would be perfect, since a full-sized one features prominently in the story.
Since I’d bought the SH&G living room set that contained the rocker—but I’d scored it in brand new, unopened condition—I wasn’t about to crack into the kit to use the chair as a prop. I went on Ebay and instead bought a used one for ten bucks. It came in a Velveeta box—pretty appropriately ’70s!
The day it arrived was magical.
I live on coffee (and wine, too, but that’s not what I’m discussing today). I frequently will drink as many as five cups, even late into the night. It’s the fuel that keeps me writing.
That said, I have my personal favorites. Back in the 1980s, I was a huge fan of International Coffee’s Suisse Mocha. In the early 1990s, Dunkin’ Donuts French Vanilla was my jam.
ONE of my favorites these days is Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ Island Coconut, which starts appearing on store shelves in March and is sold through June (after that, I’ve found you’re out of luck). I usually get my K-Cups at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, but I’m sure if you hunt the shelves of other stores like Target, you’d probably find it.
Game on, people! Time for me to stock up!
If you love Island Coconut and can’t find it after June, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND H-E-B’s Houston Blend, which is a little more coconutty, but damn close. You can order some of that online here (and yes, they have K-Cups too): https://www.heb.com/product-detail/cafe-ole-by-h-e-b-houston-blend-medium-roast-ground-coffee/2337503
Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates it, happy last day of Passover for those who celebrate that, and for fellow Pagans, happy Ostara two weeks late, although we seem to just celebrate every day, don’t we?
I wish you all, no matter what you’re doing, a spring-like day full of joy!
Dark Discussions, the horror film discussions podcast, turned ten years old last month!
For our big episodes, we usually talk about a “tent pole” film, asking our listeners to vote for a title they’d like us to cover—this time around, it was 1986’s Aliens.
I came to the Alien franchise later in life, as I wasn’t allowed to watch scary movies when I was a kid (even though I did sneak in a few here and there at my grandmother’s house, because no one was paying attention). While I enjoyed Alien—which I saw in my twenties—I really liked this sequel better. Wonderful allusions, a solid story, a slight shade of a burgeoning romance, an oppressive atmosphere, a James Horner score, a really young Bill Paxton and a gorgeous rendering of an abandoned station—this one rung all my bells.
To listen to our discussion, visit here: https://www.darkdiscussions.com/podcasts/dark-discussions-podcast/dark-discussions-podcast-episode-479-10th-year-anniversary-aliens-1986/
Fan of alien films? Also on that page is a listing of all of the other Alien and extraterrestrial films we’ve covered thus far.