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1st-Jan-2012 10:00 pm - 2011 Books List
Sam n Cas books
Here are the books that I have read in 2011.

Like last year, the numbers will be in the order in which I read the books--not numerical order.

RE indicates re-read
ANNUAL indicates Annual Re-read
XMAS indicates Annual Christmas Re-Read

Books I've read in 2011:

Fiction:

1. Lamb by Christopher Moore RE

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins RE

3. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins RE

4. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

5. Castaways by Brian Keene RE

6. The Walking Dead, Book 4 by Robert Kirkman et. al

7. The Walking Dead, Book 5 by Robert Kirkman et. al














My goals for 2011 are obviously to read more books, and also to read more books from my own library.

Specific goal for 2011: 60 books.
1st-Jan-2011 06:20 pm - 2010 Books List
Legolas
Here are the books that I have read in 2010.

Like last year, the numbers will be in the order in which I read the books--not numerical order.

Books I've read in 2010:

Fiction:

1. Under the Dome by Stephen King

2. Supernatural: Bone Key by Keith R.A. DeCandido

3. Supernatural: Witch's Canyon by Jeff Mariotte

4. My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews

5. False Dawn by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

6. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

7. This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

8. Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book One: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

9. Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book Two: The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

10. Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book Three: The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan

11. Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book Four: The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

12. Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book Five: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

13. The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker RE

14. Everville by Clive Barker RE

15. Horns by Joe Hill

16. D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths by Ingri d'Aulaire and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire RE

17. Soldier of the Mist by Gene Wolfe RE

27. Sherlock Holmes in America edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Jon L. Lellenberg, and Daniel Stashower

28. Night Shift by Stephen King RE

29. The Langoliers by Stephen King RE (novella in Four Past Midnight)

30. In Silent Graves by Gary Braunbeck</u> RE

31. The Bachman Books by Stephen King RE (Four Novellas: Rage, Road Work, The Long Walk, The Running Man)

32. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

33. Everything's Eventual by Stephen King RE

34. Undead and Unwelcome by MaryJanice Davidson

35. Misery by Stephen King RE

36. From a Buick 8 by Stephen King (first time, actually)

37. The Green Mile by Stephen King RE

38. A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle RE, ANNUAL

39. The Season of Passage by Christopher Pike

40. It by Stephen King RE

41. The Walking Dead, Book 1 by Robert Kirkman et. al

42. The Walking Dead, Book 2 by Robert Kirkman et. al

43. The Walking Dead, Book 3 by Robert Kirkman et. al

44. Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

45. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum RE, ANNUAL, X-MAS

46. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens RE, ANNUAL, X-MAS

47. Holmes for Holidays edited by Martin Harry Greenberg, Jon L. Lellenberg, and Carol-Lynn Rossel Waugh RE, ANNUAL, X-MAS

48. More Holmes for the Holidays edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Jon L. Lellenberg RE, ANNUAL, X-MAS

49. Firestarter by Stephen King RE

50. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman RE



Non-Fiction:

18. Curiosities of Literature by John Sutherland

19. Danse Macabre by Stephen King RE

20. The Essential Stephen King by Stephen J. Spignesi RE

21. A Thing of Unspeakable Horror: The History of Hammer Films by Sinclair McKay

22. The Hammer Story by Marcus Hearn and Alan Barnes

23. Hammer Glamour by Marcus Hearn

23. The Fearmakers by John McCarty

24. Monster and Horror Movies by Thomas G. Aylesworth

25. Projected Fears: Horror Films and American Culture by Kendall R. Phillips

26. The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror by David J. Skal RE






RE indicates re-read
ANNUAL indicates Annual Re-read
XMAS indicates Annual Christmas Re-Read




My goals for 2010 were obviously to read more books, and also to read more books from my own library. I succeeded in reading more from my own library, and I also read 50 books in 2010! \o/ I always read a lot of horror novels and books about horror films, but I read and re-read a lot of those this year because of Marcon's Necropolis theme. Sarah and I also had our "summer of Stephen King" which is why I re-read so many of his books.

Goal for 2011: 60 books.
1st-Jan-2010 12:00 pm - 2009 Books List
Basil Holmes mystery
Here are the books that I have read in 2009. In 2008, I read 40 books. I would like to beat that goal this year.

Like last year, the numbers will be in the order in which I read the books--not numerical order.

Books I've read in 2009:

Fiction:

1. Sherlock Holmes in Orbit edited by Mike Resnick (OH) and Martin Harry Greenberg

2. Supernatural: Nevermore by Keith R.A. DeCandido

4. FlashForward by Robert J. Sawyer

5. Eve: A Novel of the First Woman by Elissa Elliott

6. Just After Sunset by Stephen King

7. Fallen by David Maine

8. The Book of Samson by David Maine

9. Living Dead in Dallas (Southern Vampire Mysteries/Sookie Stackhouse, Book 2) by Charlaine Harris

10. Club Dead (Southern Vampire Mysteries/Sookie Stackhouse, Book 3) by Charlaine Harris

11. Monster, 1959 by David Maine

12. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (RE)

14. Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan

15. Y: The Last Man Vol. 2: Cycles by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan

16. Y: The Last Man Vol. 3: One Small Step by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan

17. Y: The Last Man Vol. 4: Safeword by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan

18. Y: The Last Man, Volume 5: Ring of Truth by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan

19. Y: The Last Man, Volume 6: Girl on Girl by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan

20. Y: The Last Man Vol. 7: Paper Dolls by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan

21. Y: The Last Man Vol. 8: Kimono Dragons by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan

22. Y: The Last Man, Volume 9: Motherland by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan

23. Y: The Last Man, Vol. 10: Whys and Wherefores by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan

24. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (RE, ANNUAL)

25. A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle (RE, ANNUAL)

26. Castaways by Brian Keene

27. The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King

28. Fool by Christopher Moore (OH)

29. Pandora Drive by Tim Waggoner (OH)

30. The Conqueror Worms by Brian Keene

31. Dead to the World ((Southern Vampire Mysteries/Sookie Stackhouse, Book 4) by Charlaine Harris

32. Dead as a Doornail ((Southern Vampire Mysteries/Sookie Stackhouse, Book 5) by Charlaine Harris

33. Definitely Dead (Southern Vampire Mysteries/Sookie Stackhouse, Book 6) by Charlaine Harris

34. All Together Dead (Southern Vampire Mysteries/Sookie Stackhouse, Book 7) by Charlaine Harris

35. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

36. Frankenstein The Graphic Novel: Original Text (Classical Comics) by Mary Shelley

37. The Forest of Hands and Teeth</i> by Carrie Ryan

38. A Christmas Carol</i> by Charles Dickens (XMAS)




Non-Fiction:

3. Plagues, Apocalypses and Bug-Eyed Monsters: How Speculative Fiction Shows Us Our Nightmares by Heather Urbanski

13. In the Shadow of the Master: Classic Tales by Edgar Allan Poe and Essays by Jeffery Deaver, Nelson DeMille, Tess Gerritsen, Sue Grafton, Stephen King, Lisa Scottoline, and Thirteen Others edited by Michael Connelly




RE indicates re-read
ANNUAL indicates Annual Re-read
XMAS indicates Annual Christmas Re-Read
OH indicates author is an Ohioan
OHIOANA indicates it was read for work
BOOKFEST indicates author participated in 2008 Ohioana Book Festival (http://www.ohioanabookfestival.org)

http://www.ohioana.org
http://www.ohioanabookfestival.org

My goals for 2009 are obviously to read more books, and also to read more books from my own library. I own 703 Books, but I have read probably less than 50% of them.
31st-Dec-2009 02:40 pm - RDJ Holmes
Basil Holmes mystery
It seems that much longer than a year has passed since we've been waiting for this film to come out. It's actually sort of hard to believe it's really here, after all of the hype and anticipation, the arguing and whining and bitten knuckles, eye-rolling and teeth-gnashing going on about it. I haven't been looking forward to a film this much since the Lord of the Rings trilogy. To be completely truthful, Sherlock Holmes has been something that has been nearer and dearer to me for far longer than LOTR; I can remember reading these stories by flashlight under a sheet in my room when I was supposed to be asleep (an old, dog-eared, illustrated children's version that I still have). I did not see any of the films until many years later, but the movies of Basil Rathbone and Peter Cushing especially are beloved, often-watched favorites of mine. I am heavily involved in Holmesian fandom and scholarship, including a local scion, and of course proud co-moderation of Holmesian.net (hi friends!). So, this is a Very Big Deal.

Robert Downey, Jr. as Sherlock Holmes? Directed by Guy Ritchie? Are you kidding me? That's the initial reaction. Some Holmesians are behaving as if Mr. Ritchie has slaughtered their family members, kicked their dogs, shot the president, and danced a jig on Arthur Conan Doyle's grave. The sheer hand-wringing overreaction to this movie is astonishing. Doyle himself got sick of Holmes. So sick, in fact, that he attempted to kill him off, by sending him over the Reichenbach Falls with Professor Moriarty. Fans were so devastated that they wore mourning clothes--including the Prince of Wales. It was years before Doyle consented to bring Holmes back, and his popularity has never waned. Even after he resurrected the detective, Doyle was never exactly fond of him. Doyle was far more like Watson--a jovial, family-oriented ex-military type. So it was that when William Gillette was writing his play, Sherlock Holmes, and came to Doyle to ask the author what he thought about giving Holmes a love interest, Doyle famously said, "You may marry him or murder him or do what you like with him." Gillette, who is responsible for the iconic images of the Meerschaum pipe (it was easier to say his lines with it than the straight clay pipe) and the deerstalker cap (based off of Sidney Paget's drawings) so often associated with Holmes, did just that, including a fiancee in that first play featuring Holmes. By all accounts Doyle was very impressed with it, fiancee and all.

Sadly Doyle died long before the days of Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing, Clive Merrison, Ian Richardson, Ronald Howard, Christopher Lee, Douglas Wilmer, etc., etc. Holmes is still listed in the Guiness Book as the most portrayed character in the history of cinema--over 100 films. He has fought Nazis in WWII (the Rathbone films), been turned into a mouse (The Great Mouse Detective) and a dog (Sherlock Hound), gone into a drug-addled haze and been psychoanalyzed by Sigmund Freud (The Seven-Per-Cent Solution), even fought Jack the Ripper--twice (A Study in Terror and Murder By Decree). And that's not even getting into the dozens of lame TV movies there have been over the years, nor the HUNDREDS (literally, HUNDREDS) of pastiche novels written every year. Holmes is in the public domain now, which means that anyone can write a book about him. And anyone does--one could literally read nothing but Sherlock Holmes pastiches and probably never run out of reading material. There is THAT much to read. Granted not all of it is GOOD, but still.

Why is it, then, that Holmesians are in such an uproar over this film? Honestly, I have no idea. From the beginning, it was not marketed as a serious adaptation of the Holmesian canon. It was marketed as a big-budget, action buddy flick. And that was fine with me. Holmesians have a reputation as being a bunch of stodgy old men sitting around in armchairs with pipes going, "Cheerio, old man" and being completely serious about playing the "Game" as they call it. Then they complain about this reputation, and wonder why they can't get younger people to attend their scion meetings. I wonder why?

I've been close to tearing out my hair. The complaining, whining, sneering, and downright bitching had reached fever pitch right before the film came out. RDJ is too short. Guy Ritchie has no respect for the canon. There are too many explosions. Holmes is too scruffy. Excuse me? Have you even seen the film yet? How about you actually watch it before you give your opinion on it? I wanted to scream. I was apprehensive before I went in. The trailers are certainly bombastic. Though I had a good feeling, particularly about Jude Law as Watson, it looked a bit like "Holmes of the Caribbean" and I felt iffy about the whole thing. Well, I've finally seen it.

I loved it. Now, I won't lie: I definitely thought this was Watson's film, all around. Jude Law was much better than Robert Downey, Jr. was. This will not go down in the books as one of the top Holmes performances of all time, but Watson? Most emphatically yes. He walks with a limp. I died. He actually gets to practice medicine! And Kelly Reilly--Was anybody else as impressed with her as I was? First of all--OMG SHE IS GORGEOUS. Secondly, I just loved how she didn't put up with Holmes's crap, and that she and Watson seemed well-matched. I wanted more of her, and more of Mrs. Hudson, too. The relationship between Holmes and Watson, though it is strained here due to Watson's impending marriage, is a believable one. For once, these are two equals, rather than Holmes and his sidekick, which is so often the case. I believed wholeheartedly that this was a former military man--I LOVED Watson holding off the thugs while Irene and Holmes dismantled Blackwood's device. This is a Watson who does not put up with any of Holmes's crap, and even gets to punch him in the face, as I wished Doyle's Watson would have done more than once. As Sarah said when we were on our way home from the movie, their relationship feels REAL. They are affectionate, but they're also kind of assy to each other, in a way that feels true, especially from two independent men in this time period.

Oh, and that time period. I was afraid of the CGI, I will admit, but it wasn't that bad. London is practically a character in itself here. It's all dirty streets and handsom cabs. The skylines are gorgeous, and the buildings, from Big Ben to Parliament, have the old, dingy look of Industrial England. There's a lot about it that feels steampunkish, as well, from the strange machinery in Reardon's lab to the device Blackwood attempts to use to kill the members of Parliament. The costumes are great, too; I'm glad to say that the pink dress we all loathed so much is much better-looking in action than in stills. I hope this wins awards for costumes and set decorations--they were really great. And I'll say this as a biased Guy Ritchie fan: I loved the direction and cinematography. Holmes's "deductions" before his fight scenes were ace, and the slow-motion and frenetic pacing during the chase scenes were great. It was also atmospheric as hell, very pseudo-gothic, which Doyle himself would have loved. I also enjoyed the music.

Rachel McAdams was serviceable as Irene, and I was glad to see that all the whining and moaning about her relationship with Holmes was not justified. Apparently those shots of her in her corset from the trailer were gone from the finished film, which was okay. I could not quite believe that this was the Irene who bested Holmes and nearly toppled a European monarchy, nor that she was the criminal mastermind they made her out to be, but she was all right. Mark Strong was not given much to do, but I really like him so I thought he was good. Eddie Marsan was a wonderful Lestrade, as well. And a wee bit of trivia: James Fox, who played Lord Blackwood's father, Sir Thomas, played Sherlock Holmes in the BBC radio adaptation of Laurie R. King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice a few years ago. :D

What I really adored, though, were all the lines straight from canon. I lost count of how many there were. What about the homages to previous Holmes actors? The way Downey plucks at his violin to experiment on the flies is a straight nod to Rathbone and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Some of his mannerisms were evocative of both Brett and Cushing, and I would swear that the first opening shot of Baker Street is very similar to the credits of the Granada series.

I was very satisfied with this film, both as a popcorn action flick, and as a fun nod to Holmesiana. No, it's not a straight canonical adaptation, but it never purported itself to be such. There is a definite affection to the canon and to previous Holmes films, and it's obvious that both Downey and Law put a lot of time into the development of their versions of Holmes and Watson. I've only seen the film once, but I'm going to go so far as to say that Law has won my heart--he is my favorite Watson, maybe ever. He was fabulous. I am beyond thrilled and satisfied, and I look forward to a sequel.

It's amazing, somewhat mind-boggling, to me, to hear people going around talking about Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. Like, real mundane sort of people, who would never otherwise be doing so. To sit in a movie theater and hear "Holmes!" and "Watson!" being spoken on a big screen was absolutely thrilling and a little bit surreal. To hear that a Sherlock Holmes movie is the #2 movie at the box-office on Christmas weekend...I mean, what? It's...rather awesome, as a matter of fact.

For those who are curious, or perhaps as obsessive as I am, in addition to what I mentioned above, here's a list of the stuff I could remember, as well as a couple supplied on HN:

Starting with a quote from "The Dying Detective":
"His incredible untidiness, his addiction to music at strange hours, his occasional revolver practice within doors, his weird and often malodorous scientific experiments, and the atmosphere of violence and danger which hung around him made him the very worst tenant in London."

- The "VR" in bullets on the wall (for "Victoria Regina" from "The Musgrave Ritual")

- The bull-pup (A Study in Scarlet)

- Watson's limp, which switches limbs depending on the story (the shoulder in A Study in Scarlet, the leg in The Sign of Four)

- Several references to Watson as an army man

- The deductions about the pocket watch (only it belonged to the ginger midget, rather than Watson's brother) (A Study in Scarlet)

- The line about a doctor being the first of criminals (only applied to Watson, wasn't it?) ("The Speckled Band")

- The trunk full of Watson's notebooks--presumably notes about his adventures with Holmes

- The photograph of Irene Adler on display in Holmes's room ("A Scandal in Bohemia")

- Holmes's brother Mycroft ("The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter")

- Lord Blackwood (Count Negretto Silvius -- Blackwood in Latin -- "The Adventure of Mazarin Stone")

- Watson's neat military appearance (dialog from "The Boscombe Valley Mystery")

- Lestrade's mention that Holmes might make a master criminal (Holmes' own line from "The Missing Three Quarter" (I think?)

- Mary Morstan and her wearing pearls (The Sign of Four)

- Holmes fighting in his own style ("Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist", "The Empty House")

- the violin

- Mycroft's estate in Chichester, West Sussex (Holmes takes up bee-keeping in Sussex in "His Last Bow")

- sitting with his feet on the chair and his knees drawn up

- Holmes speaking French ("Adventure of the Greek Interpreter", Holmes' grandmother was a sister of Vernet)

- Holmes locks Watson's checkbook in a drawer ("The Adventure of the Dancing Men")

- tiger skin rug also present in the Russian production of SH

- Watson's gambling problem (mention of losing half of his wound-pension in "Shoscombe Old Place," and more indirectly, through his knowledge of the turf in "Silver Blaze")

- ambitious secret society (this appears in several stories)

- magic that is not magic (The Hound of the Baskervilles)
2nd-Nov-2009 11:28 pm - We Will Be Victorious
Basil Holmes mystery
It's NaNoWriMo time, y'all!

Be my buddy, see an excerpt, etc.: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/182020


4569 / 50000 words. 9% done!
11th-Sep-2009 10:04 am - 9/11
Professor Tolkien
Every year I sort of stop and think about how long it's been since 9/11, and I can't believe how many years have passed. Last year, all the talk about the Large Hadron Collider and the facetious "OMG, the world is going to end!" made me remember how many people really, honestly thought the world WAS going to end, that day, 7 years ago. For a lot of people, the world did end that day, both literally, for some, and figuratively, for others, as they lost friends and loved ones in the most horrific way imaginable.

As every year, this is a day when we think about what we've lost, where we've been, and where we're going. This is a day when we think about heroes. Like the brave people on United 93, and the thousands of fire fighters and police officers, and port authority workers who were killed. I am not the most patriotic of persons, but I know how to honor people who have given their lives for other people.

I didn't lose anyone, and for that I will be forever thankful. But I remember that feeling of epic fear and disgust in the pit of my stomach, that despair that took me over, watching the towers fall on the news over and over again--I didn't even get to see it live, because I was working my second or third day at Waldenbooks at the time and had no clue what was going on until after most of it was over. I thought there was no way I would ever feel that again (even though I made myself sit through United 93, which is a great film, but I will never, ever watch it again), but I did--twice. First when the tsunami hit Asia in 2004, and then when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005. It's helplessness, it's despair and anguish that you can't control because it just makes you sick. I know that my problems pale in comparison to those suffered by these people, and it humbles me to the extreme. I try not to ever dwell on my own mortality, either--but it does make me wonder what I would do if something like this happened to my loved ones. It makes me wish I could help in some way. Of course, I'm not in any kind of shape to help anyone financially, and might not ever be. But I can donate blood, and clothes to the Salvation Army, and recycle, and whatever other small things I can do. I feel like it's not enough, like it will never be enough, but I hope it helps, even a little bit.

But I hate it. I mean absolutely hate it. But there's no use sitting around gnashing your teeth and asking "Why does this happen?" There is no why. There are no answers. You all know I am not the most religious of individuals, nor do I wish to sit around mooning over it all.

I can't believe it's been 8 years.

I just want to say, that like everyone else, I think, I will not ever forget. I will always think of this:

"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.

"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." ― The Lord of the Rings</i
24th-Jun-2009 11:06 am - SAVE OHIO LIBRARIES!
arwenreads_roseinshadow
Attention Ohioans: In case you didn't know, Governor Strickland has proposed a possible 50% budget cut to all Ohio libraries. Our library system has been voted best in the nation more than once, so it's hard to believe that something like this is happening. Of course, people are up in arms about it, and there is a rally today at the Cleveland Public Library, as well as one tomorrow at the Ohio Statehouse: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=118707835375&ref=nf

More info: http://columbus.bizjournals.com/columbus/stories/2009/06/22/daily10.html

http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/article/20090624/NEWS01/306240004

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/06/23/library.html?type=rss&cat=&sid=101

Everybody knows the economy is bad, but closing libraries is NOT the answer. Libraries provide free entertainment, it's true, but students RELY on them. In addition, people who are looking for jobs but don't have computers or resources at home to look for them will have nowhere to go.

Columbus Metropolitan Library has made a very very easy page to use to contact Ohio Legislators to protest this, and to use as a resource for updating Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc. http://www.columbuslibrary.org/save_our_library Please do it, guys!!
27th-May-2009 10:52 am - Something about May...
vanhelsing_mellie510
Today is another horror legend's birthday. Christopher Lee turns 87 today, but he shows no sign of slowing down. He's got 2 movies coming out this year and 6 more in various stages of development. Happy Birthday!

Here's another fantastic picture that Frankensteinia picked up from the Life archives:



Some more picsCollapse )

Today would also be Vincent Price's 98th birthday. There must have been something in the water during this week of May.


Cross-posted.
26th-May-2009 01:01 pm - Marcon 44
Basil Holmes mystery
This past weekend I attended Marcon 44 in Columbus with seramercury and fleurette. The theme for this year was "the British Invasion" so there was quite a bit of Doctor Who-related fun. Everywhere I looked there was a Tenth (Tennant) Doctor (including one who was about four years old), and even two Daleks running around. The rest of sci-fi fandom was well represented, too, of course. There were Klingons everywhere, including one who entered the masquerade as a Leonidas Klingon ("Today is a good day to dine--in Hell!"), and plenty of Starfleet (and Barfleet) officers. There were zombies, fairies, girls in corsets aplenty, Stormtroopers, and Darth Vader himself--seriously, this dude must have been seven feet tall, and he had the elaborate breathing apparatus and everything. There was a tall Rorschach and once I saw the Comedian and Silk Spectre milling about. There were BSG Viper pilots, Ghostbusters, members of S.T.A.R.S. and UNIT, vampires galore, and plenty of Anime characters, as well. I also spied "IndianaOhio Jones." We did not dress up but Vicki suprised us with some really great Doctor Who shirts that she hand-painted herself. She made herself a Tennant Doctor shirt with "10" on the back, Michelle got Davison with "5," and I got an Eccleston with "9." Everywhere we went while wearing them people really gushed over how cool they were. Unfortunately we forgot to take a picture with all three of us wearing them, so I'll have to take a snap of mine and post it.

I was told that the masquerade itself was quite a bit more subdued than in previous years (I don't know; this was my first one). In addition to the above-mentioned Klingon, there was a super elaborate dinosaur costume that was just wonderful. I have no idea what it was made out of, but it looked like one of those weird life-like T-rex costumes that showed up on the net last year. We had Romana II and a couple of Stargate costumes, and a lot of adorable little kids dressed like fairies and mermaids. Somebody even did a scene with Captain Shakespeare from Stardust. Vicki and I didn't stick around to see who won because there were other things we wanted to do, but it was a lot of fun.

The best costume of the whole convention was a girl named Betty who dressed up as one of the Weeping Angel statues from the Doctor Who episode "Blink." She was painted entirely gray and had the wings and dress. She would stand stock still and cover her eyes for pictures. She even stayed "in character" during the masquerade, when she won for best hall costume. It was amazing. The next day she also dressed as one of the clockwork droids from "The Girl in the Fireplace," which was even more elaborate.

Here's a link to some of Vicki's pictures, including a lot from "Dottore Who," a commedia put on by a group called the Confused Greenies, which was absolutely hilarious and at times completely adorable. http://picasaweb.google.com/GiaKohana/MARCON442009?feat=embedwebsite#

Here are some more. Scroll down for a gallery including Scary Vader and the Weeping Angel: http://diyfashion.about.com/

And more: http://www.angel-hare.com/media/photo-new/Maximillian/Marcon2009/

I did four panels, as well. The first one was Friday night at 8:00 and I was terrified. I'm not good at speaking in front of people so I was very nervous. I made Michelle and Vicki go to the bar so I could drink a beer before we had to go on. That first one was "Intro to British Sci-Fi" which I did sign up for, but put down as a last choice because I knew I wouldn't have much to say. Luckily we were on the panel with the guest of honor, Simon R. Green, who had tons to say, which was particularly interesting since he actually is British. He's quite hilarious, too. He brought up all sorts of old sci-fi shows, some of which I had never heard of. We talked for a long time about Doctor Who, of course, and I realized once again that I have absolutely the complete opposite opinion about the show from practically everyone, so I didn't have much to say. We did talk about various Frankensteins for a quick second, which was nice, but that was definitely my least-favorite panel.

I faired better that night at 10:30 on my "Vampires in Literature" panel. Author Tim Waggoner was the moderator. He was a really great mod--he made sure that everyone got to speak at least once, and asked a lot of very in-depth questions. I said quite a bit more on that one. We also ripped on Twilight a few times, which was a lot of fun. It had its own panel so we mostly kept away from it, but everybody did get to talk about their favorite vampire fiction and why they liked the genre so much. I talked about True Blood, 30 Days of Night, and Dracula, and I got to mention Let the Right One In. In a huge coincidence, one of my fellow panelists was a former professor from OUE, who I hadn't seen since 1999, who is one of my absolute favorite teachers, ever. That was really fantastic.

After that we kind of wandered and talked to a lot of people, then went back to the bar for a little bit. We were hungry so we decided to go up to our room and order some pizza from Papa Johns. The pizza didn't get there until very late, so we were up until about 2:00 am. Michelle and I both regretted eating that pizza the next morning--ugh, it was awful.

We were up in time for our Sarah Jane Adventures panel at 10:00, though. I thought that one went very well. We were on it with Vicki and with Joe from Psi Phi Columbus and his daughter Audrey. That one was a lot of fun, especially to hear from Audrey, who was about 12. Her age group is really the target audience of the show, so we discussed that quite a bit, and we talked about the show in relation to how appealing it is to Doctor Who viewers in opposition to Torchwood, and how different Sarah Jane is on the show, etc. We had a really talkative audience and everybody on the panel got to speak a bit. We couldn't talk about season 2 very much because it hasn't aired over here yet but those of us who have seen it somehow *ahem* made some hints and allusions that I think got people pretty intrigued.

Directly after that at 11:30 was The Hobbit panel. I didn't say much in that one either, but it was still a lot of fun because the audience was super into it. There was a lot of talk and speculation about Guillermo del Toro and casting rumors and such.

After that I sat with near my friend Roy and his girlfriend Penny for the "Star Wars Blasphemy" panel, which was a blast. Joe was in that one too and he said that his goal was to make someone throw something at his head. That didn't happen, but it was a great time. They'd throw out semi-serious things like, "I think Jar-Jar Binks was cool" or "Luke Skywalker screams like a girl" and wait for people to yell at them. The entire thing was very good-natured and hilarious.

I split up with Michelle and Vicki and went to a bunch of panels right after that. I went to "How Do You Write the Other?" with guest of honor Simon R. Green, Michael Z. Williamson, and Tim Waggoner directly after the Star Wars panel. There was only one very slight mention of RaceFail, which was pleasing, I have to say. They focused on a lot of things, from men writing female characters to writing aliens and people/creatures who don't speak English. Anything that Simon R. Green was on was both interesting/informative and a riot, and him together with Williamson was great.

I went straight over to a panel on the New Madrid earthquakes, which managed to be both fascinating and completely terrifying. I love doomsday scenarios and apocalyptic fiction, so this was just cool. It's pretty scary to learn about something that could potentially happen for real, but it's one of those "can't-look-away" type things.

Right after that I met up with the girls again for the "Dottore Who" presentation. The Confused Greenies are an improv group, so this performance was completely madcap and insane, but very affectionate and well-put-together. At one point I was laughing so hard I nearly cried. They lampooned Doctor Who especially, but tons of other sci-fi films and tv shows were also targeted. They had a fabric TARDIS and actually built a complete Dalek for the show. One of the actors actually got inside the thing and was wheeled around the whole convention. He also had a voice distorter for yelling, "EXTERMINATE" which lit up in red. It was elaborate as hell, but it looked like they had a great time putting everything together. A couple of their Doctor costumes were really well-done and it was really evident that they have tons of fun doing this.

After that we went to eat in the food court, then Vicki and I went to the masquerade while Michelle had a Stargate panel. Then we decided to go upstairs and rest for a bit. We noticed that there was a room party almost right next door to our hotel room, but we didn't really make much comment on it. We hung out in our room for an hour or so, then decided to go downstairs to catch one more panel.

I went to the Battlestar Galactica panel at 11:30, while Michelle went to a Buffy sing-along and Vicki went to check out the video room. After that we met back up and milled around for awhile. Finally, at this late time, we found out where the freaking con suite was--we had no idea! We went in there and got some more food and sat around with a bunch of folks. There was karaoke going on, so Vicki decided to sing. I was beat and was feeling kind of sick to my stomach again at that point, so Michelle and I bailed. We went upstairs where the party next door was raging on. It was close to 3:00 in the morning by this point so we were a little perturbed. Vicki came up soon after that and we all tried to settle into bed. Even with the air conditioner running and earplugs I still slept very fitfully.

The party went on until after 5:00 am. We had planned to get up at about 8:30 and go downstairs for breakfast, but Michelle and I were just so destroyed that we decided to sleep in for awhile longer. Vicki got up and went to hunt down some breakfast and stuff. Michelle and I made it downstairs in time for the panel on the new Star Trek movie at 10:00. That one was interesting. There's a whole faction of Trekkies who are thrilled with the new film, proclaiming it a rebirth of the fandom and such, and then a whole group who do nothing but bitch and complain about every little thing. I began to wonder who is worse: Holmesians or Star Trek fans, and honestly, I don't know. It's a tough call. It was a good panel, though.

After that Vicki had to go be on a Doctor Who panel, so Michelle and I ran upstairs to get our stuff ready for check-out. We took everything to the car and went back to check out. We milled around for awhile, intending to stay so Michelle could go to the Eureka panel later that day, but by that point we were exhausted and ready to go home. We waited for Vicki to get out of her panel and found her in the dealers' room, and then headed home. I spent the rest of the day lounging on my couch in a stupor with the cat, doing nothing.

I had a great time. I met lots of new and old friends and just generally enjoyed being a geek for three straight days. It was exhausting, but it really was a blast. I consumed about two gallons of coffee in three days, so yesterday had me a bit shaky, but I'm okay now. I can't wait until next year: the theme is "Necropolis," and the focus is on horror. Yay!

The Marcon folks really know how to put on a good show. I can't say enough good things about Lee Shamblin, Psi Phi Columbus, Doctor Who Columbus, and all of the people who worked the con. I'm definitely going next year.
Cushing Frankenstein
Today would be Peter Cushing's 96th birthday. Happy Birthday!



I got this picture from Frankensteinia, which has a nice post with some links here: The Baron's Birthday.


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Cross-posted.

Updates on Marcon, etc. forthcoming. Tiiiired.
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