Monday, December 28, 2009

The Chill - Ross Macdonald

A special thanks to Ford Thomas for the hookup.

To bring it back to crime fiction, I recently took a heart-pounding stroll into the world of paperback novels. And as the title suggests, I read a Ross Macdonald work - The Chill, which was originally published in 1964.

The Chill starts out offering Detective Lew Archer, Macdonald’s MVP, the simple case of tracking down a runaway wife for a determined and very caring husband, but quickly the book reveals its true notions when the simple case explodes into Archer solving three murders….at once! The past always comes back to haunt, right? Now, in today’s form of crime fiction, a complex, twisting plot is nothing new – it is pretty much expected. But, in 1964 and even earlier in Macdonald’s career, probably not so much the case as I would dare to guess. Yeah, you probably had a few choice stories, but overall it was not a common thing – especially in crime fiction paperbacks.

Reading the book in its context, the structure and style are truly remarkable. Even in today’s standards, the book is still as riveting as ever. It is a plot that constantly grows and invites the reader to piece together along side Archer. How? Well, Macdonald does an awesome job providing so many suspects. And, leaning on Macdonald’s knack for penning three-dimensional characters, the book’s cast is one that holds weight. I absolutely loved the way he introduced each character to the reader. Macdonald lays out their connection to the case, but he also subtlety hints at the character’s flaw – that flaw is what tunes the reader in to question the characters presence and raises suspicion.

And, you cannot forget Macdonald’s dialog. Like any master of the form, the man’s dialog provides such a slick texture to the story that just allows the reader to continue for hours. Yeah, some of the dialog sounds like what a reader would expect from dry wit detective, but it is the way Macdonald structures the banter between characters that gives the book its flow.

From what I could gather of Macdonald’s writing in this one book, it appears to me that his style has had some significant influence of the contemporary stuff. His characters have depth, and the way he writes leans more towards the psychological aspects of people and how specific situations affect them. That idea makes it so that I need to read all of the man’s work. Overall, I just really enjoyed The Chill. The book has re-ignited my excitement to read more novels, and it has opened up the door for me to explore another writer of the crime fiction genre.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Santa Digs Me and My Show

So, I started this podcast a year ago as a fun experiment that quickly became a passionate hobby of mine. Now, time to be professional, baby. And that means equipment. So, the powers that be felt it necessary to help out in that area this Christmas Day.

Enter: the Xenyx 1204 Premium 12-Input 2/2 Bus Mixer with Xenyx Mic Preamps, British EQs and USB/Audio Interface from Behringer....alright, you got me, I do not understand all of that lingo, but hey, I'll learn with time. Check it!

So, yeah, I've got a nice mixer now, and I am pumped for the future. Next step: a professional microphone. Look for an update Monday or Tuesday on that front. Merry Christmas, all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Love Getting Gifts...

One of the coolest things about the community of podcasts I belong to is the TRUE community aspect. A majority of the people who listen, converse and podcast themselves all tend to be sincerely nice people - something that can be hard to find...especially on the internet.

So, this year The Comic Geek Speak Forum held its annual gift exchange program. The usual consists of your "Secret Santa" drawing a sketch of the character of your choice alongside a small stack of comics that may not always be considered top-notch. Nontheless, it is always a fun exchange and it brings about that holiday feel.

This week I recieved my package from Mr. Travis Fowler...and, man, what a holiday treat.

Yes. Alongside Miracleman #1 and a Chris Giarusso Spider-man sketch (if that wasn't enough), the man also sent along all three volumes of Jeff Lemire's Essex County, issues #107-110 & #116-119 & #500 of Ed Brubaker's Daredevil, issues #1-3 of Comics Now magazine, issue #1 of the new Doom Patrol series from Keith Giffen, Teen Titans Lost Annual, issue #1 of the Waid/Perez Brave and the Bold, issues #1-6 of the Adam Beechen Batgirl, Super Real TPB, and Attack of the Monstrology TPB.

So, as you can tell - Mr. Fowler is awesome. Plain and simple. Thank you, Mr. Fowler.

But, to all you thinking my title of "I Love Getting Gifts..." implies my range of joy is limited, think again. To me, giving is just (or even more) important as getting. I could sit here and tell you about all the gifts or time I gave this year, but I don't want to come off as boasting. I just want you all to keep in mind that it is not all about the getting. Sometimes giving brings the greatest joy (corney, yes, but true).

Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Episode 56 - Comic Talk

This week I return to the norm and review plenty of my recent comic book reading. Plus, a review of James Cameron's Avatar.

Books Discussed
The Black Coat - One Shot
Powers Vol. 3 #1
Egg #1
Criminal: The Sinners #2
Greek Street #1-5 "Blood Calls for Blood"

Music Featured is by The Counting Crowes

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Avatar - I Saw It

Yep. The new James Cameron visual spectacular - I saw it. And you know what?


With this movie, Cameron takes the expected "hero's journey" tale and injects it with high design work and amazing visuals to mold a theater experience. Yes, experience, I dare say....because it was.

You go to this film, put your ass in that seat, projection rolls and you are off to Pandora (the film's fictitious world) right along with the actors. It exists - seriously. For those 160 minutes, it exists in your mind. You don't question it. All of the creatures, the Na'vi tribe, the technology.... it all preoccupies physical space to you as a user. That feeling, that sensation all boils down to Cameron's team of designers, concept artists, effects specialists and 3D modelers who pay attention to the details - the very niche details.

I just cannot stress enough how wide the world of Pandora appears to be. It is truly incredible for a film.

If I could say anything bad (not even bad, really) about it, I would say that the story is a little bit worn. It's the typical good guys vs. bad guys/nature vs. industrialism flick and you have the some-what arrogant guy transform into the true heroic leader. It has the normal beats that you would expect. But, in the end, this movie is about going to the world and having a fucking adventure. You cheer for the good guys and spit at the bad guys. You sit at the edge of your seat during the epic battle at the end. It is a movie theater's movie - that's what it should be.

So, SEE IT! IN THEATERS! There is no other way to watch it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Episode 55 - Movie Talk

This week I sit down, go over some e-mail, and review (what I consider) a lot of movies. Enjoy, people.

Movies Discussed
Bad Lieutenant
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Pulp Fiction

Music Featured is by Lady Gaga.

Download / iTunes / Forum

Friday, December 11, 2009

Episode 54 - Alex Grecian of Proof

Yep, that title is no mistake. In this edition of TW, I have the pleasure of speaking to Mr. Alex Grecian (Co-Creater/Writer of Proof) about his writing process, his comic book career and all things Proof. It was an experience getting to talk to him, and as you can imagine I am very excited about this one. Do. Not. Miss.

Music featured is by The Rantings of Eva.

Download / iTunes / Forum

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Episode 53 - Top 10 Comic Book Stories

This week I call for a little help. Friend and co-host Joe Aulisio stops by the "studio" and converses with me about our Top 10 favorite comic book stories. Our personal picks make the cutting room floor, and a l0t of diversity finds its way into our chat. Listen in and see if you agree with what we highlight.

Music Featured is by Faith No More