Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Slide

Here we go, again. It is another September 30th. It seems that ever since I became a parent, approaching 14 years, now (that's 98 in dog years), I've become acutely aware of this date. Today is the eve of what I like to refer as The Slide. That is, the cosmic phenomenon of the beginning of the end for whatever year you or I happen to be living through. You know the one where the space/time continuum accelerates to the point that the year is suddenly over. And, all of those things that happen between now and the end of the Rose Parade are just a blur. A fleeting memory. October 1st... January 2nd.

You are aware of all this, yes?


Okay. Maybe it's just me (and old age). But, between the kids' Autumn birthdays (and whatever celebrations they enable), school (and school holidays/breaks the administrators gleefully schedule), the candy coma of Halloween, the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, decorating the house with Christmas lights, tree and ornaments, Christmas vacation, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, the accompanying and inevitable Christmas celebration mental breakdown, and New Year's Eve, the-year-is-already-over. And then it's,
Thank you, sir! May I have another?
So, before all of this starts up, there's some end of the month housecleaning to be done.


There's a reason I follow the people I do. Whether they specialize in books, movies, the arts, or life, they are all never boring and very often exceedingly creative and exceptional. And September was one of those kind of months. Of the first three, none other than author Sophie Littlefield happened to say about them (because I name-drop so shamelessly) in an email reply to me [wife: "You can be a pest... you know that."]:
Must say, you run with a great crowd. Those three friends you mention are all delightful and have been really kind to me.
Jen of Jen's Book Thoughts has been building an extraordinary collection of memoirs from well known mystery and detective authors (and other very interesting people) this entire year. But what makes it quite so special, though, is that the collection includes just six words from each. Who can get away with that? This blogger, for one. For almost every week of this year, it's what I look forward to from this blogger. And today was no exception. And since I've met her in person earlier this year, I consider myself pretty lucky to call her my friend.

Same goes to the one known as the Pop Cultured Nerd. (PCN for short) She follows and comments on many aspects of the popular arts, and like Jen, consumes and covers an extraordinary amount of books and authors. I'm constantly amazed at the things both of these women do, and the amount of ground they cover (but then again, they are networking wonders). And yesterday she published a piece on the National Book Festival in D.C., and it was fantastic. Reason: her young nieces (8 and 11) did the reporting. It was an outstanding post that elicited the simultaneous reactions in me of feeling old and hopeful of the future because of the likes of these scary smart, amazing kids. [just as long as she or their mother keeps them out of my current field of work, says the insecure one]

Corey of The Drowning Machine also had an exceptional month. Though he began the Watery Grave Invitational in late August, it bloomed nicely come September. This unique contest of e-short stories (that the ol' Buckeye came up with) proved to be something that had great and unexpected results. [I say unexpected only because he had doubts - "I have this awful sinking feeling in the pit of the old tum-tum." I never did, of course (says the boastful one)] And with the top three including the likes of Hilary Davidson, Sophie Littlefield, and Keith Rawson, I highly recommend that people read the wonderful content that came out of this event.

Switching gears, this month also saw exceptional content from the movie bloggers Dennis Cozzalio, John Kenneth Muir, and J.D. These gentlemen cover so much great stuff in popular cinema. It's one of my favorite subjects [wife: "Obession is the better word for it."] From Dennis adding his own answers to one of his now famous movie quizzes that bring so much fun in follower participation, to the ongoing and insightful reflections by author JKM on film and TV (one of my favorites being a recent post on the best horror remakes so far), and finally the unforgettable look back by J.D. at 9/11 through the lens of Paul Greengrass' United 93, it was an uncommon month of wonderful output from a set of guys who make a habit of producing great stuff.

And finally, kudos go to Bev, Jen, and Corey for mentioning Banned Books Week in their blogs. One can't minimize this in our day and age.


I don't know if it's schizophrenia setting in, but these were the last three music tracks I added to my iTunes library this month:
What the H-E-double hockey sticks does this mean?

And I can't forget the generous Moondancer when it comes to music. She's the one who sends me props for my musical blips (but hers are ones that are worth following), and I thank her for it.

As well, since this was the month I did my annual Kill Bill fest (Vol. 1 & 2), I thought it would be a good idea to remind those that care that the much rumored Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair still remains missing in action. However, the good news is the DVD may finally be in the offing. And if you're a fan of the music used by Mr. Tarantino on his soundtracks, the song Urami Bushi (sung by Meiko Kaji of Lady Snowblood fame) has special meaning for fans of both films. So, if you don't understand Japanese, here are the translated (noirish) lyrics for that song (aka The Grudge Blues):

You're beautiful, you're the flower, he praises you.
But if you bloom, he will get you scattered.
Stupid. So stupid.
I go so stupid singin' my grudge blues.

You can accept your pitiful fate.
But when you cry, he'll make you cry more.
Women, oh women,
It's women's tears that makes my grudge blues.

I hate you. Full of regret, never forgiven.

Try to erase my memory, but cannot forget you.
It never ends, never,
It never ends, 'cause that's my grudge blues.

They say it's a dream, embers of one-sided attachment,

laughing at you.
So you decide to wake up, but fear to be fully awake.
Women, oh women,
Women's soul beats on my grudge blues.

Crimson roses have its sharp thorns.

Don't wanna hurt you, but have to stab you with my thorn.
Burning, it's burning,
It keeps on burning within my grudge blues.

No flower would bloom on my dead body.

So I will live along hanging on my grudge.
Women, oh women,
My woman's life belongs to my grudge blues.


I know I'm going to hear it for putting this down in the order, but did I happen to mention that I love my wife? Not only is she the mother of two of the most beautiful children I know, but she gives the absolutely best belated birthday presents that I know of. And with the exception of a few gray hairs (which she is justly proud of, I might add), she is the same beautiful woman I married more than 20 years ago - and which still garners me envious looks from a bunch of guys around town :-p


Author Sophie Littlefield (there she is again in this post? Stalker Alert!) is someone I've been hoping to meet over the summer when she was book touring for A Bad Day for Sorry. Jen, PCN, and Corey all spoke highly of her breakthrough debut of said novel. Naturally, I missed every single one of her southland appearances. Luckily, the West Hollywood Book Fair (where the heck did this come from?) is going to bail me out this weekend. She'll be in town to attend the Take Back The Night: Feminism and Powerful Women in Fiction panel. And did I happen to mention authors Gregg Hurwitz and Charlie Huston will also be there? Makes for not a bad set of content covers, huh?

"Now... where was I?"

Powered by ScribeFire.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


  1. Awww, thanks Michael. I'm equally proud to call YOU my friend. And I am so completely honored to be mentioned in this post.

    I do know what you mean about the "slide" and I don't have children with autumn birthdays!

    Please say "hi" to Sophie and Gregg for me. I threatened to come kidnap Gregg for the weekend of Bouchercon because I'm sad he's not coming. BTW, I think Tim Hallinan may also be at that festival.

    What a nice post. I wouldn't expect anything less from a class act such as yourself. Thanks again!

  2. What you call The Slide is for me The Long Dark Night. The first nine months of the year have scattered like frightened mice. These next three months bring to mind Thomas Paine's words: "These are the times that try men's souls." The winter stretches out endlessly and has not even begun. (Although we had our first frost warning last night, a full two weeks ahead of time.)

    Now that I've moaned about the upcoming season, thanks for the props, Michael. Your kindness and generosity of spirit always shows in your posts, and you have shown your friendship to me in more ways than I can count.

    That Sophie. Ain't she something?

  3. Wow, Michael, you continually amaze me with your bottomless generosity. Thank you for the kind words about me and my nieces, too!

    I have a confession to make, though: I'm a terrible networker. The Nerd moniker is not a joke. I don't go out to see or talk to people unless I really like them. Speaking of which, I'm looking forward to seeing you at the festival this weekend!

  4. Jen: It's my pleasure to show my appreciation toward you and your blog. I sure will say hi to Sophie and Gregg come Sun.

    Corey: compared to you guys in the Midwest, we have such thin blood out here. The last two mornings, my daughter has wanted to turn on the heater. Again, my pleasure to give props to you.

    PCN: So are so kind. Same here, I'm so looking forward to catching up with the authors and you on Sun.

    Thank you, all.

  5. Gee, I forgot to mention how tickled I was to see Leonard's photo there at the bottom of your post. But you know how bad my memory is...

  6. Terrific movie. One that gives you a reason to watch it repeatedly.

  7. I love that movie, too! One of the most original plot concepts I'd seen when I first watched it. Probably STILL is one of the most original. ;)

  8. Memento is another of my all-time favorite films. I've seen it a number of times, in its original/theatrical reverse order, and in chronological order (there is an Easter egg code one can enter on the Limited Edition DVD to have it play that way).

    I don't know if you guys caught the one brief mind-blowing scene in the YouTube vid link (at the 1:56 mark)? If you recall in the story, because of his condition Leonard uses tattoos on his body to keep important facts. And he's reserved the area around his heart for one to commemorate the fact that he has found and slayed his wife's killer.

    What you'll see as he closes his eyes is a flash (forward?) of Leonard laying somewhere with his beloved wife (alive) caressing him--and with the I'VE DONE IT tattoo there on that spot on his chest. That's wild.

    Thanks, guys.

  9. Thank you for your kind words
    le0pard13. I am honored you included me, and I am glad you enjoy the music as much as I do. In case I haven't mentioned it, I am glad to have found your blog. You rock;-)

  10. You are very kind, Moondancer. Same here :-). Thanks.

  11. Thanks for the props for Banned Book Week! I am so glad when I see you've popped by!
    Very nice post...enjoy autumn. Do you have much of an autumn there? We are already into 40 degree nights here in New York.

  12. You're welcome, Bev. And I'm always glad to pop by.

    We are very thin-blooded here in L.A. We're just creeping into the high 50's at night (and my daughter wants to turn on the heater) - no where near what N.Y. gets. Corey already reported their first frost in OH.

    But, scattered across L.A.'s many neighborhoods, there are patches of trees that express autumn color. It's what I go hunting for come the Fall.

    Thanks, Bev.

  13. Hey, lp13, Corey & Jen,

    Robert Crais used to have a forum on his site, which I visited regularly. When Memento first came out, he posted a message extolling its virtues and saying how much he enjoyed it. (I'm a HUGE fan of the movie, too; seen it multiple times.) Is it any wonder we think he's cool?

  14. I just saw that you're listening to Caught Stealing. Man, oh man, I'm so excited you're finally doing a Huston. (Preparing yourself for tomorrow?) Can't wait to hear your thoughts.

  15. PCN: I never knew that RC's site had a forum (I came too late!). The fact that he recognizes how great Memento shows he's as cool as all of us ;-). And yes, I was prepping for tomorrow by finally starting a Huston novel. Thanks for the tidbit and comment.

  16. You covered a lot in this post, and it's all good stuff. My family's birthday slide gets started in December. My children are older than yours and so I've calmed down a bit for fall. However, my part-time job is enough to make me see a tunnel with a light far away beginning about now. :-)

  17. Thanks for the shout-out, my friend. I always enjoy reading your blog and the personal spin you put on everything which is what makes it so distinctive.

    And great pic from MEMENTO. One of personal fave movies. Great one to be sure...

  18. Nordette: I knew, with your family, you'd experienced this. We get older, the kids grow faster, and time-just-slides a-w-a-y. I always enjoy your visits, V.P.

    J.D.: I just knew you appreciated this Chris Nolan film.

    Thank you both for coming by and for your very kind and generous comments :-).