Tyson Adams

Putting the 'ill' back in thriller

Archive for the month “June, 2011”

Math Shouldn’t Be Taught In Schools

This of course follows on from earlier interviews about whether schools should teach evolution.

I’m glad that people get such a good education in this day and age. My text book on celestial orbits around the Earth – with calculations of how flat our Earth is – will no doubt be in curriculum’s world wide soon. It is entitled The Science of Flat Earth.

Word of the Day: Paraprosdokian

There is definitely too little wit in the world today. The witless wonders that inhabit our world have made Every Body Loves Raymond a popular show. Paraprosdokian is a great example of wit. You take a sentence and then use the latter part of a sentence or phrase to surprise or twist the meaning; preferably using it to create humour. “Where there’s a will, I want to be in it,” is a type of paraprosdokian.
They are so good that famous people have used them:
  • “He was at his best when the going was good.” —Alistair Cooke on the Duke of Windsor
  • There but for the grace of God — goes God.” —Winston Churchill
  • “If I am reading this graph correctly — I’d be very surprised.” —Stephen Colbert 
  • “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing—after they have tried everything else.” —Winston Churchill
  • “If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.” —Dorothy Parker
  • “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.” —Groucho Marx
  • “A modest man, who has much to be modest about.” — supposedly Winston Churchill, about Clement Attlee 
  • “She looks as though she’s been poured into her clothes, and forgot to say ‘when’.” —P. G. Wodehouse
  • “I like going to the park and watching the children run around because they don’t know I’m using blanks.” —Emo Phillips
  • “If I could say a few words, I’d be a better public speaker.” —Homer Simpson 
  • “I haven’t slept for ten days, because that would be too long.” —Mitch Hedberg 
  • “I sleep eight hours a day and at least ten at night.” —Bill Hicks

In my own writing I am trying to use humour to offset the dark themes and violence so that I can undermine societal values because you don’t see much humour in thrillers. Here are some examples of paraprosdokian sentences that might tickle some funny bones:

  • Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
  • The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on my list.
  • Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  • If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  • We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
  • War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
  • Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Evening news is where they begin with ‘Good Evening,’ and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
  • To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  • A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.
  • I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.
  • Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says, ‘In case of emergency, notify:’ I put ‘DOCTOR.’
  • I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  • Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
  • Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
  • A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
  • I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
  • You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  • Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
  • There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.
  • I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
  • You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  • To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
  • Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  • Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  • Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  • A diplomat is someone who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you look forward to the trip.
  • Hospitality is making your guests feel at home even when you wish they were.
  • I always take life with a grain of salt. Plus a slice of lemon, and a shot of tequila.
  • When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.
  • Words of Wisdom “The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”

Book Review: The Six Sacred Stones – Matthew Reilly

I think I have always loved thriller and adventure novels. Sure I like my fantasy, sci-fi, crime, occasional horror, maybe a book or two about the struggle of a single mother to overcome the loss of her cat, but thrillers are my rock. A well written thriller will always leave me wanting more: the next adventure.

Now understandably some people don’t like thrillers. Just as some people’s idea of fun is finding a rare stamp, some people just don’t care for action, thrills and adventure. Reviews thusly follow these preferences. Whenever I read a review for a Matthew Reilly book I am immediately putting the reviews into one of two categories. Category G – they got it. Category M – missed the point.

Reilly is one of the best at writing books that could be an action movie directed by Michael Bay or Jerry Bruckheimer. They are meant to be a flat out thrill ride of action and adventure. So many reviewers seem to expect Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky and are understandably under-whelmed. I on the other hand was expecting a novelised action film, so I was whelmed or possibly super-whelmed.

I am a huge fan of Reilly’s work. Whenever I read one of his books I can see the Indiana Jones moments written on the page. I read Reilly’s first Jack West Jr book, Seven Deadly Wonders, in 2010 and while it retained Reilly’s breakneck pacing and adventure, it lacked reader involvement. Things just happened, you didn’t feel thrilled by the adventure, and the book had me second guessing the series. This second Jack West Jr novel, The Six Sacred Stones, stands in stark contrast and is Reilly at his sterling best. While the Scarecrow series is his best work this series is impressive and worth reading.

Apparently my view on Seven Deadly Wonders is not uncommon. Rest assured that The Six Sacred Stones is the Matthew Reilly you know and love. Although, a little warning: buy both Six Sacred Stones and Five Greatest Warriors, as you will want to read them back to back, just as I am doing. There may or may not be a cliff-hanger that can’t wait.

Reilly fans will also be pleased to hear that the next Scarecrow novel, Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves, is due out later this year.

Book Review: Graphic Novels/Comics/Whatever

Graphic novel is a nice little term to make us comic fans feel like we have grown up and are reading more sophisticated fare than kids comics. If you want proof that there is no difference, just check the bastions of all knowledge: the Wikipedia topic discussions.

I’ve come up with a simple, definitive difference between comics and graphic novels: bad stuff actually happens in graphic novels. I remember the first Spiderman comic I read; he was fighting The Vulture and Kraven the Hunter. Spiderman got hurt, had work issues, women problems and had a cold. By the end of the comic he had defeated the baddies and only had women issues left to deal with, and they appeared to be on the improve as well. Kraven had the wind knocked out of him and went to jail. The Vulture was out cold from an electric shock and went to jail.

Let us compare this with Garth Ennis’ The Boys first edition. Within the first few pages a woman has been splattered against a wall and our protagonist is left holding her severed arms. A touch more graphic hence; graphic novel. Please excuse the homographic pun, I forgot to take my verbs this morning. Basically comics are not really for adults and graphic novels are definitely aimed at a more mature or adult audience.

As part of a Aussie Goodreads June Challenge I have decided to read a few more graphic novels. After watching The Losers at the beginning of this year I had already decided to read a few more of the works that were clearly taking Hollywood by storm (see what I’ve read here). I think it is always a good idea to follow trends from Hollywood, they always make good stuff.

Watchmen
What review of graphic novels would be complete without Alan Moore’s classic. Great story, great characters, great visuals, greatly depressing ending. Rorschach is quite possibly one of the greatest characters ever created. They made a decent movie of this, but you need the director’s cut with the Black Freighter story included.

The Losers
Andy Diggle wrote an interesting, humorous and offbeat series that was turned into a film in 2010. While the series is enjoyable I found that the witty dialogue and humour seemed to wane as the series continued.

The Gamekeeper
This is another Andy Diggle written work, with Guy Ritchie as the creator. Take one trained killer and give him a job as a manor gamekeeper, then have organised crime kill his boss; do you see where this might be going? Yeah, thought so.

Batman ala Frank Miller
Lets talk Batman: the non-superpowered superhero. Batman is one of my favourite comic book heroes and thank God/Christopher Nolan for actually making a decent film adaptation at last! Frank Miller took a comic book and made a graphic novel of it. Whether it be Year One, The Dark Knight Returns or The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Miller implores you to take Batman seriously. Oh and he has Batman beat seven shades of shit out of Superman.

Batman taken seriously

The Boys
Ever thought that superheroes were always just a little too uppity? Ever get the impression that the good guys would often cause just as much mayhem as the bad guys? Well Garth Ennis has written a series for you. This series seems to have stemmed from Garth’s work for Marvel comics and a specific edition of The Punisher: The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe. This series has everything you would expect from an episode of The Young Ones. Fantastic.

300
I preferred the movie.

Witchblade
I started reading this Ron Marz series for two reasons. The first was that I had heard there was a movie adaptation planned. The second was:

Empowered women = good thing

Ron Marz and Mike Choi have created a visually stunning and intriguing series. Aside from the obvious teen appeal of the character depictions, it has to be said that the Witchblade series has some fantastic artwork on display.

The Punisher
Three pretty crappy movies have been made of this long running anti-hero series. In my mind there is only one Punisher author: Garth Ennis. I’ve read 3-5 years worth of Punisher comics and graphic novels this year, and I can actually spot when Garth has stopped being the author. You immediately notice that there is something lacking, or in some cases that it just plain sucks. Garth has had two runs at The Punisher, the first under the Marvel Knights imprint, the second under the MAX imprint. The MK series is, well, more aimed at people who don’t need to shave and think that vampires should sparkle. Garth makes it enjoyable, but really MAX is the graphic novel of Punisher. If they followed the Garth Ennis MAX story lines they might even make a decent Punisher movie before the second coming of Brian.

Reading Graphic Novels
I have a few tips for reading graphic novels. Buying your graphic novels as comic book reader (cbr) files is the e-book of the comic world: quick, easy and none of that pesky walking to a store. Of course, just like an e-book, you need a reader for your e-comics. Preferably you want an LCD or similarly sharp screen to enjoy the artwork (Witchblade really pops on an HD screen). Another thing you want to do is wait. Wait for your series to be finished and the collection to be released. Nobody wants to wait a month for the next edition. It’s like waiting for the next episode of Justified (or any other decent TV show), except instead of a week you have to wait a month. More frustrating than explaining the movie Inception to a blind and deaf insomniac.

Wristbands for causes

There is definitely nothing more profound and world changing than buying a wristband for a good cause. What better way to cure world hunger than to slap a piece of plastic on your wrist?

Here are a couple of worthy cause wristbands available now:

Make Deadshits History Wristband

Harden The Fuck Up Wristband

Now of course it would be remiss of me not to mention the wonderful wristbands that cure ailments and enhance performance. Chief amongst these products is of course Placebo. The Placebo bands are available right now:

Nonspecific ailments the placebo effect and confirmation bias may assist with are not limited to:

  • Headache relief
  • Lower back pain
  • Cramping
  • Muscle soreness
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Symptoms of the common cold

Wearing the Placebo Band may also seem to improve:

  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Power
  • Confidence
  • Mental alertness
  • Memory
  • Sense of general well being
  • Attractiveness
  • Wit and charisma

International Day of Slayer

Metal fans of the world unite! Today – June 6th – is every metal fan’s public holiday. Ok, the public holiday is still in the works, and this post is a little late, but it is at least a day when all metal fans can proudly proclaim their faith in all things heavy. To represent all that is metal, the band Slayer have been adopted as the international symbol of metal music.

Who is Slayer

Slayer is a band from California. Their music has come to epitomise speed metal music in the latter half of the 20th century. Their 1986 album, “Reign in Blood” is one of the single most influential metal albums of all time, typified by the modern classic “Angel of Death”. Playing “Reign In Blood” has been positively correlated p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }with reductions in the local infestations of hippies, fundamentalist religious groups and other non-savoury people.

How to Celebrate

  • Listen to Slayer at full blast in your car.
  • Listen to Slayer at full blast in your home.
  • Listen to Slayer at full blast at your place of employment.
  • Listen to Slayer at full blast in any public place you prefer.

DO NOT use headphones! The objective of this day is for everyone within earshot to understand that it is the International Day of Slayer. International holidays aren’t just about celebrating; they’re about forcing it upon non-participants.

Taking that participation to a problematic level

  • Stage a “Slay-out.” Don’t go to work. Listen to Slayer.
  • Have a huge block party that clogs up a street in your neighbourhood. Blast Slayer albums all evening. Get police cruisers and helicopters on the scene. Finish with a full-scale riot.
  • Spray paint Slayer logos on churches, synagogues, or cemeteries.
  • Play Slayer covers with your own band (since 99% of your riffs are stolen from Slayer anyway).
  • Kill the neighbour’s dog and blame it on Slayer. 

But, I hear you ask, what if I’m a metal fan and don’t like Slayer? Well there are many options:

  • You could admit yourself to hospital, as you are clearly ill.
  • You could take this opportunity to grow to like Slayer.
  • You could listen to all of your favourite metal albums whilst watching a Slayer video.
  • You could admit that you aren’t really a metal fan and kill youself in shame or hang out with Justin Beiber fans (same thing really).

Book review: The Dead Man – The Dead Woman by David McAfee

Yes, that’s right. Matt Cahill is back, visiting another small town, looking for Mr Dark, axe at his side. Welcome to another great episode in The Dead Man series.

David McAfee is the latest author to throw evil at Matt Cahill. It is hard to say too much about the novelette without delving into spoiler territory. Matt is in Crawford, a small town with a big problem. There is a serial killer on the loose, could this be Mr Dark’s handy work? Matt is barely in town a day before he spies the tell-tale-signs, but someone else can see them too, and she could tell Matt who Mr Dark is.

I think it is easiest to liken this series to a TV show. A bunch of writers are called together by Lee and Will and they sit down and come up with a series. While Lee and Will’s original work is adhered to, each writer who pens an episode brings their own flavour and feel. David has brought a subtle mysterious feel to this book, which left me wanting more. Needless to say, this was another Dead Man that was read in one sitting.

Matt will be back when James Reasoner continues the series with The Blood Mesa. In the meantime, once you finish The Dead Woman, you may want to pick up David’s 33 AD.

Print on Demand

Take a look at this little wonder of printing technology:

This, or a machine similar, will be your bookstore of the future. No longer will you be limited for choice. No longer will you have to stand with your head at a funny angle trying to find your next purchase. No longer will stores have to have stock or sell-through rates or large amounts of floor space. No longer will the store clerk be able to stare at you quizzically when you ask for something other than a book from their display at the front of the store.

The bookstore of the future will print your book while you wait. It will be like a drive-thru or lunch bar for books. Granted the pricing I’ve seen for individual books is probably a bit pricey for stores, but that will come down as this technology is taken up. Plus Print On Demand (POD to book fans) is probably one of the few ways fans of dead trees will be able to feed their addiction to non-ebooks. It’s either POD or having a guy in a long coat proposition you in the pub with a “great deal” on an “antique” that just “feel off a tree”.

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