Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dog Bite

I had a dream that feels like solid representations of what I do in daily life and those that may be dormant in my subconscious.  It occurred not far from my home on a street with houses lined up on both sides.  The houses were small, one level economy types that most of America has.  It was a first person perspective as nearly all of mine are which I assume to be common.

I’m standing at a doorway during late evening hours, when the sun is out of sight but it’s not quite dark yet.  The weather felt like late summer.  I was standing outside the doorway looking in but I don’t know who was there or why I was, it wasn’t an area I really go to.  I had on a long sleeved solid orange shirt that was from Abercrombie, much like one I already have but not orange in color.  That really stuck out to me but I don’t know why. 

A small dog that looked like a pug was suddenly behind me barking and looking rather mean.  Now I’m no dog expert but I never recalled a pug being so vicious.  I thought they were friendlier and rather lazy but this one was not the case.  At this moment I had the slight feeling I was working, my job is as a delivery person so being out and about in the neighborhood is common for me.  I wasn’t in uniform but that didn’t seem to matter.  As a delivery person I don’t like to mess with dogs, I’d rather them be locked away and out of yards so this situation forming itself could derive from those feelings.

I saw a man straight across the street standing in his open doorway.  He was balding, chubby and older and he said, “He won’t bite don’t worry.”

I grew a bit on edge because this dog kept going crazy and circling me while barking and showing aggression.  I had the thought that if this dog attacks I’m going to kick it or something.  I didn’t think I would though.  All of a sudden the little pug jumps and clamps down on my right wrist.  I felt no pain whatsoever and I couldn’t shake the little beast off me.  It was very determined.  I looked at the apparent owner across the street and shouted something like ‘get it off of me’.  Here a time skip occurred as does in dreams on occasion.

I was now at his door and the pug was scurrying under his feet.  I pulled up my sleeve but the dog didn’t puncture my skin.  However, there were holes in my shirt which I was rather upset with.  I had just been given this shirt so it was new and I was angry.  I told the owner he better pay for this.  The owner obliged and said he would give me twenty dollars.  I agreed knowing that wasn’t enough but decided to take it.  This is a part of the dream I know took pieces of my daily delivery life and incorporated them into it.  He handed me a twenty and a ten dollar bill then gave me $8.67 cents in change.  That was a total of $38.67.  He then added, “Just give me ten back and we should be good.”

In the dream something felt wrong but I couldn’t figure it out.  By giving him a different ten dollars back out of my pocket I felt I had only been given ten dollars total.  I was confused and then woke up.  After being awake awhile I realized I made more in my dream not that it mattered but it was neat to see a few things dragged from my mind and put into a bizarre moment.  I don’t know if this makes much sense to anyone but this is all I can remember and I hope you enjoy.

Treasure Island – Book Review

Author – Robert Louis Stevenson

A review of Treasure Island

I was excited to read this book as soon as I got it.  It was another of those stories I’ve always wanted to read but again put it in the back of my mind so far it was as lost as the loot on Treasure Island.  That wasn’t too bad was it?  OK it sort of was but my backspace button is broken so it stays.  I do like an adventurous pirate tale and this is my favorite one although I haven’t read many.  It has so many classic pirate traits it really will make you smile.

Long John Silver
This is, dare I say, a household name given the chain of crappy restaurants it’s attached to.  I really liked his character in the book; he was the reason I wanted to keep reading.  He’s a smart pirate and the way he acts and speaks to the other characters in the book always has you wondering how he’ll stay alive in his pursuit of the treasure.  Although Silver is the bad pirate I couldn’t help but cheer for him throughout, he has that persona you have to respect.  From his peg leg to the parrot on his shoulder he’s everything a classic pirate should be.

The Dip in the Story
I loved this book so don’t get me wrong but even it had a brief part in it that made me give a little push to get through.  It was when the doctor took over the narration of the story.  I was very comfortable following Jim Hawkins narration of the tale that when it changed to another perspective not only did it come from a different character but it was a tad lacking.  It only lasted three chapters so it’s not a story killer by any means just thought I’d put it out there.

Wrap Up
The only thing I’d want more, not from this particular book, would be previous adventures of Long John Silver or what became of him after this story.  I’ve never read Robert Louis Stevenson and besides his name and this story I didn’t even know he wrote this in the late 1800’s.  That’s a bold thing to admit I know but I can’t possibly be the only one who didn’t know that right?  I’ll probably read more of his books and I highly recommend this to any reader who loves a fun adventure.    

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Moby-Dick – Book Review

Author – Herman Melville

A review of Moby-Dick

I’ve wanted to read this book for years but that was in the days I’d rather do anything else beside read a book.  I had the mentality of “Oh that seems like a good story to read about it would be fun” and of course I never did until now that is.  As I read this book I was told by a few people that noticed that they read the book back in school, most times pre-high school.  I was a bit surprised, I never even knew of anyone, personally, that read it until I was.  I’m glad I did read this book even though it was a struggle at time over the three weeks it took me.

Facts! – This book has many of those regarding whales.
I’m going after this aspect first because it read like a textbook a bit too much for my liking.  There are plenty of chapters that are worthy of being in an encyclopedia about whales but the ‘cetology’ section takes the cake.  Now the factual information given in this chapter is educational no doubt and I know more about whales after reading it than I ever did but did it have to drone on page after page.  My eyes fought to stay open as hard as the harpooners did against the whales on the open sea through those sections.  I would have rather had those parts of the book cut out and placed in an appendix in the rear compartment instead of being thrown promptly about wherever they landed throughout the book.  This story begged to have a flow to it but constantly got sidetracked by facts.

It’s about Moby-Dick right?
Now the story was solid and I enjoyed it most times but what I didn’t expect was Ahab and Moby-Dick being in so little of it.  After reading the book I’ve come to terms that it was written well and my initial doubts were rendered moot.  If you read this for the first time you might be someone like me and all you know about this book is Moby-Dick and Ahab.  I thought it was about a man who would stop at nothing to get his whale and it was but not as I first thought.  The first half of the book hardly has anything to do with either of them and gets so cluttered with facts you wonder if it’s worth grinding through to the end, I’ll set the record straight and urge you to finish if you’re already half way. 

The Story
The finale of the book is why it has gained so much popularity since the 1920s.  I know it was written in the 1850s but only 3,000 copies sold in roughly the first 70 years.  I’m guessing folk’s post 1920 had more patience to finish this book because before that nobody liked it much.  I’m not making this up it’s actually on the back dust jacket of the book!  The last 100 pages or so reads the best aside the first 100 pages or so.  I don’t know if its coincidence or not but those couple hundred pages are practically all story as opposed to the 500 or so pages in between that spilled whale facts all over the place clouding the story with precious ambergris.

Wrap Up
If you like whales I’ve no doubt you’d rather find this book amazing.  I, myself have always liked aquatic life and sea adventures so stomaching the bland portions was easier for me.  I won’t say it’s my cup of tea in general but there’s enough in this book that tickles my interest to help me through it.  If you’re someone who hates textbook reading then do yourself a favor and avoid this book, you’ll just kill yourself trying to get through it.  All books are meant to be read, but some by a select audience and I’d put this book in that category.  You’ve probably read reviews of how boring and stupid this book is or what a perfect masterpiece it is already if you’re reading my review anyway.  I’ll clear it all up for you by saying it’s neither, it’s a solid read, it takes time and patience and if you have those you’ll be fine if not read something else. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ain’t NASA-Sarily So

Episode 24

The Real Ghostbusters head into space to battle an unknown entity.  Isn’t that all that really needs to be said for an introduction?  It’s the first time in the series they head into outer space and that combination itself leaves me on the edge of my seat!  As a kid this was one of the episodes I grew an extra big smile for upon seeing the title appear after the theme song ended.  It’s the first taste of Craig Miller and Mark Nelson’s writing as well so we’ll see what they came up with.  Without further ado let’s get to it.

Ordering some take-out
Appropriately we begin in space as the captain (or ‘kiptan’) is making sure the spacecraft is functioning properly.  The crew tends to make you think of other specific space type characters from another show but I’ll refrain from detail as I was never a fan of that series anyway.  Star Trek, we’re talking about freaking Star Trek, nerds!  I don’t like Star Trek, there I said it so shoot me but this is about the Real Ghostbusters.  The crew gets a good thump and the alarms go off while some of them claim to have seen a ghost in the spacecraft.  A ghost you say?  The captain picks up a phone as one of his crew asks what we’ve all wanted to ask in our lives, “Who ya gonna call?

Peters money talk not impressing Egon
Ecto-1 promptly bursts from the firehouse and the excitement is on.  Who knows how long training took for the guys to get approved to be flown to space but that’s boring and it’s skipped anyway.  The shuttle blasts off immediately and they’re on their way to bust some space ghosts.  “Hot-diggidy a government contract big bucks here we come.”  I like to see Peter always thinking about the money aspect of being a Ghostbuster, stays so true to character.  Meanwhile Egon and Ray ponder over whether the equipment will work in space or not.  “Don’t sweat it no company with a government contract ever knows what it’s doing.”  Peter adds the humor no matter what the guys with the brains say, at the expense of the American government this time, zing!  Winston, in common sense, as he usual sees things wonders what’ll happen if the gear doesn’t work.  “If it doesn’t work then you just charge more and do it again.”  One last Peter line before they board the haunted spacecraft.  Of course what if the gear failing costs you your life Peter?  It’s all about the Benjamin’s with this guy!

Her hair needs to make a comeback
The meeting of Ghostbusters and crew is of mixed quality.  The guys overplay the whole ‘don’t these guys look familiar’ gag, in reference to Star Trek, which we already know I don’t like while adding to the previously proven fact I’m not a fan of referencing too much.  Peter does comment that neither rain, sleet, snow nor depth of space can keep them from their expensive rounds, which is riding his characters money thought process but it’s still acceptable.  Then we find out it’s only the second day of the crew’s mission.  I’m guessing the ghost arrived on the first day and the Ghostbusters on the second day?  That seems preposterous so I’ll throw a spin to it.  Perhaps they’ve finished up a previous mission and just received a second one that the Ghostbusters have arrived at the beginning of?  I don’t know the time frame still seems off and it bothers me.  I know it’s a cartoon but it gets me.

Tracking down the 'space ghost'
Egon pops on the PKE meter and it goes off immediately.  He says he is getting ectoplasmic readings from the apparent engineering room, where the ghost was seen.  However he goes on to say its empty ectoplasm with no psychokinetic energy with it, meaning technically it’s not a ghost.  That’s the stuff that tickles my science fiction nerve; it makes for an interesting life form or ghost.  The ghost taps into the power supply causing most systems to go offline while draining the overall power faster than can be converted from the solar rays which means bad news for any actual life forms aboard the spacecraft.  Winston questions that this ghost is power hungry while Peter chimes in, “Maybe he used to be a politician.”  Funny but time is running out!  McTavish leads them off to the engineering room.

Uh guys you forgot someone
You guys ever consider paying your electric bill?”  Peter says as they are running through the flashing corridor.  Is it necessary to have such an awful joke at a time like this or at any time?  Upon arriving to see the monstrosity of a ghost lamer Star Trek jokes surface while Egon does manage to at least classify the ghost.  Meanwhile the ghost is feeding on the power supply which is similar behavior to Killerwatt from episode two.  The Ghostbusters all fire upon it but the ghost absorbs all the proton streams, again similar to Killerwatt.  The ghost grows in size as a result.  The good news is the throwers work in space and the bad news is the throwers work in space.  After the ghosts temporarily taps the gravity supply then releases it causing temporary loss of gravity on the spacecraft, Egon concludes that the ghost is after the proton packs since they seem to taste better.  The ghost begins to chase them down a corridor and grabs Winston by his pack.  He slips out of it since they now know what it craves.  It’s a good thing they got this big government contract now because that proton pack can’t be cheap.

Don't mess with the kiptan!
As they report back to the captain in safety it’s apparent the ghost has given up chase to devour the proton pack in solitude.  The captain isn’t pleased with the turn of events considering the ghost is still on the loose with the clock ticking on their power supply.  “Calm down little Ivan Kiptan we’ve just gotten started hey we’re government contractors man you gotta allow us a couple of muff chances it’s in the fine print.”  Peter milking the government gag to appease the captain for now, not sure it worked all too well.  The ghost taps the life support systems but the crew manages to get four hours of power through rerouting I’m guessing.  The guys head back to the ghost as the captain is none pleased; he demands a quick result that’s for sure.  He also mumbles another language there at the end of the scene I think.

Save us with supernatural negotiations Winston!
While heading back to the engineering room, the base of operations for this ghost, they discuss the ghost being too big to trap now then Winston gets the fool hardy idea to talk with it.  Do you think that’s going to work man?  It does have about six mouths but still.  He removes his pack and heads out alone on the walkway to initiate operation useless communications.  Peter gives him a hard time on what to be asking since its obvious this plan is stupid.  After some banter Peter offers Winston to buy his next of kin since Winston revealed he has none, it’s a nice jab at Peter’s father from a couple episodes back.  The ghost doesn’t do anything to Winston since he isn’t wearing his pack.  Ray then comes up with a plan after the captain pressures them into thinking fast.  He wants the energy converter shut off, probably to lure the ghost out of the engineering room.

Ray carry out your own plans! Winston's already failed!
McTavish goes outside the spacecraft to deactivate the energy converter.  Ray huddles the guys to explain the plan.  Winston asks what they will do when it’s turned off as Peter adds, “We run.”  Where to man?  Sometimes he needs to be turned off, every joke isn’t hitting this time around.  Ray continues that to lure the orange slug out they’ll use their ion rifles, which they call them a couple of times this episode.  He wants Winston to be the bait to drag the ghost to the central walkway for the capture but they all shoot down anyone doing it except for Ray.  Ray argues that Peter never has to share or perform his own plans but that can’t be entirely accurate.  How would Peter make someone else do his plan if he doesn’t share it first?  It’s a bit muffled but funny enough overall, it’s nice to see the team interacting with one another in conversation.

Ghost point of view is fantastic!
Ray heads to the engineering room while floating, the gravity must have deactivated as well when the shut off occurred.  It’s a fantastic scene as Ray blasts the ghost then gets propelled backward on the kick to lure the ghost through the darkened corridor.  As a kid I shuttered at this as it seemed Ray was going to be caught alone.  He holds his cool as the ghost gains on him just before he reaches the central walkway.  The theme music switches on and takes the scene to maximum excitement!  As Ray comes zooming by Egon and Winston hold hands to form a catch for Ray, Peter says, “This is no time for dancing men.”  I swear Peter says that mocking homosexuals with his tone.  As the guys recover and the ghost nearly enters Ray barks out orders for them to spread out and toss a trap each.  The ghost storms in and the guy’s all fire at once to keep it satisfied with the proton streams.  Ray then shouts for all the traps to be opened to capture the ghost.  It won’t fit into a single trap so they spread it into four different ones, clever.  The music shifts during the trapping sequence to complete a well done finale.

There's only one way to bust a ghost, trap it.
They inform the captain that the ghost has been caught and the mission saved.  Peter asks him to tell Houston to have a check ready for them when they return.  The captain is not without a sense of humor though by telling his crew to deduct travelling expenses out of it.  I’m sure Peter will understand that completely.  The guys then do a space jig in midair not realizing when the power returns so does the gravity, they all topple downward after being excited they successfully tapped a high income client.  After one final Star Trek joke the real Ghostbusters head home in a transport.

It’s an off and on episode for my liking in the end.  I didn’t enjoy the Star Trek references in the least and the part when Winston wanted to talk to the ghost wasn’t good either.  Peter’s jokes hit and missed.  I did fancy the capture sequence though and that really saved this episode for me.  I can see how others would love this episode for its Star Trek jabs so I may be in the lower echelon as far as how much I liked this one overall.

Rating: 5.5 of 10
Next Up: Who’re You Calling Two-Dimensional? – Coming Soon!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Return of Book


Have you ever experienced the feeling of wanting to do something again that you once did?  Activities such as sewing, painting art, writing a daily blog, building models for show or even reading a book are some of the hobbies that at one time brought a certain joy to your life but what happened?  Your job requires more hours, you’re in a more demanding relationship, a new hobby has dominated your time or you decided to take a brief break but never returned to it.  There may come a moment in the future when an opportunity presents itself to take back that activity, what would you do?

Return of Book

A tall slender man in his late twenties walked around in yet another mall in Hong Kong.  He was still amazed at how many different ones he had been to in this city, the land of many malls he liked to think of it as.  He didn’t have much interest in most stores but he wasn’t a man of many interests anyway.  He had his certain likes and stuck to them.  His girlfriend was with him, she was about his age but Chinese instead of white like him.  He received all sorts of looks from the people around but mostly since he was so tall compared to the average bystander.  He didn’t pay much attention to the stares and didn’t let it bother him either.  He was curious as to where his girlfriend was leading him though and became rather intrigued when he did find out.

She entered a bookstore which was a less common sight in this city.  There were plenty of them but compared to the mass amount of all stores it felt like a small number.  He followed her as he often did in this foreign part of the world.  She was at home though and moved freely about.  He let her know he was fine and she could go browsing about.  He looked around near the entrance and noticed the store was actually bigger than most, meaning he didn’t have to walk sideways through the aisles or duck his head.  The rows of shelves with books weren’t as tightly packed either which made him feel more comfortable.  He wasn’t claustrophobic by any means but he did enjoy the spacious confines of American stores better.  What didn’t change though was the amount of people packed inside this store; it seemed every store in this city had at least twenty people in it.  He had gotten used to that over time and worked his way around to the English section.

A little boy walked by with his eyes fixed upon him, his head turning round still watching as he walked away.  The tall man smiled briefly as he knew he must be quite a sight.  Most people in the store didn’t pay him much mind and probably thought him to be a university student at the nearby school.  He looked off to his right and saw his girlfriend crouched down by a rack; he returned his gaze forward and spotted something of interest.  He saw various books by Jules Verne in paperback and continued to stare at them.  He had always wanted to read Verne, in particular A Journey to the Center of the Earth because he thought dinosaurs of some kind may be in it.  He fancied stories of dinosaurs since he was a kid and a skeleton head of one of them was near the top of the front cover.  He stared on for awhile longer and almost drooled.  It was a rekindled emotion for him that he had not felt for years.

He was fascinated to see books that he suddenly wanted to pick up and read.  What had caused such an interest though?  He picked one of them up to get a closer look.  The summary on the back cover really sparked his desire to read it more.  He had an idea of what the book was about but what really spoke to him was did the people really make it to the center of the earth?  He loved adventure and fiction stories very much but remembered it had been years since he even picked up a book.  He thought of the many still sitting on his shelves back home collecting dust.  He thought back to the time when he did read more often and those stories began to sprout up in his memory.  Jurassic Park took precedence since it was the first novel he had ever read and he loved every word of it, it took him only a few days to read it and he was barely a teenager if that.  He felt an urge begin to overcome him.

He put the book back down and walked around the store in search of his girlfriend.  He couldn’t find her right away and began to look at more books.  He paced side to side while staring at book after book with the Verne novels flashing in his mind.  He lost focus on his browsing while thinking about them.  He stopped looking and found his girlfriend nearby.  He liked to consult with her as she supported his decisions much of the time.  He knew he could simply pick up the books and purchase them but discussing it with her was always fun to him.  He liked to see her happy smile while he shared interests he had that she may not yet know he even had.  She urged him to get the books which he knew she would say anyway.  She often thought of him as an excited kid at a toy store when he saw something he wanted but was debating whether or not to get it.  She grabbed a few Chinese books and watched him walk to get his.

There were several Verne stories but he grabbed the one he had previously read the summary of first.  It was his now he thought as a rush of fresh joy filled his eyes.  He felt compelled to not just stop at one though, he had never read Verne before and had no way of knowing he would even like it but picked up another one anyway.  20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, now that’s an adventure with Captain Nemo!  He knew of this one as well but not much other than that submarine on the front cover.  He felt an even greater feeling of happiness as he held two books now.  He continued to look at the rest of the books and saw The Mysterious Island.  He had never heard of this one but a moment took him and he seized it.  He grabbed the final book without knowing anything of it and felt a satisfaction with the three he selected.  He always wanted to read Verne and now he had a chance, fate had put him in a position to not stand idly by while opportunity was there.  He had to retake control of the old habits he once knew that had been replaced by various other occurrences he didn’t even care for anymore.

He walked up to the cashier and set down the books.  After everything was paid for and his girlfriend and he left the bookstore he looked back and saw a moment that he dominated.  He had become someone who dreamed but never pursued, someone who thought of acting but rarely did, someone who thought he could do it later and ignore it for now, someone who began to let laziness grow over him like a vine and squeeze.  He now woke from that dream, bought those books, set before him what he could do now and ripped the vine from his once weakened spirit.  A change had happened to him as he decided to set out in life and do those things his heart longed for.  He would no longer take things as they come but instead go out and take what he always wanted.  That’s not to say giving into all desires set before him but rather he would now face life as he always actually wanted to, not how he imagined it should be.  As far as books were concerned he read those three shortly upon returning home to America and has been reading daily ever since.