Friday, September 23, 2011

NFL Week 3 picks

David Agranoff 19-11
Larry Hall 21 -9

David's picks:
Pats At Bills: Patriots
Jags at Panthers: Panthers (in a close one)
49ers at Bengals: Bengals
Dolphins at Browns: Dolphins
Lions At Vikings: Lions
Texans At Saints:Saints
Giants at Eagles: Eagles
Broncos at Titans: Titans
Jets at Raiders: Raiders ( thought alot about this one, Jets starting 3rd string center- would be surprised if the raiders screw this up)
Chiefs at Chargers: BOLTS!!!!
Ravens at Rams: Ravens ( both need this one, this will be a tough game)
Packers at bears: Bears (in a close one)
Cards at seahawks: Cards (awful game)
Falcons at Bucs: Bucs
Steelers at colts: Steelers
Redskins at Cowboys: Cowboys

Larry Hall's picks:

Houston at New Orleans(W)
NY Giants(W) at Philadelphia
Jacksonville at Carolina(W)
New England(W) at Buffalo
Miami(W) at Cleveland
San Francisco(W) at Cincinnati
Denver at Tennessee(W)
Detroit(W) at Minnesota
Baltimore(W) at St. Louis
NY Jets(W) at Oakland
Kansas City at San Diego(W)
Arizona(W) at Seattle
Atlanta (W)at Tampa Bay
Green Bay(W) at Chicago
Pittsburgh(W) at Indianapolis
Washington(W) at Dallas

My Chargers Prediction: 48 - 10. Huge game for Ryan Mathews. This will be the chargers first flawless game. No turn-overs and forcing at least three. We need to beat the chiefs while they are down. for real.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I have a story in this charity anthology!

228 pages
$9.99 Kindle
$15.99 Paperback

75 authors from 11 countries came together to collaborate on a mixed-genre anthology of short stories to benefit the orphans of the disaster-stricken Tohoku area. Ninety percent of which is all original work written for this book.

Horror, humor, human drama, science fiction, fantasy, absurdist, bizarro, weird, new wave, bugpunk, Cthulhu, Sherlock Holmes, historical fiction,

Complete author list (in index order): Katherine Govier, Ken Asamatsu, Lee Pletzers, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., S.A. Gambino, Michael Allen Rose, Nickolas Furr, Garrett Cook, Touya Tachihara, Jess Gulbranson, Alvin Pang, Robert M. Price, Kevin Lovelace, Junichi Ashikawa, Dan Ryan, Adam Joffrain, Moxie Mezcal, Andersen Prunty, L. Christopher Bird, Minoru Inaba, Richard Wright, Kirk Marshall, Davide Mana, Show Tomono, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Christene Britton-Jones, Philip Overby, Yuusuke Tokita, David Agranoff, Bradley Sands, Naohiko Kitahara, Michael John Grist, Edmund Colell, Trent Zelazny, Riri Shimada, Made in DNA, Glynn Barrass, Fulvio Gatti, Nirnara, Melissa J White, Fumihiko Iino, Curt Seubert, Elizabeth Black, John F. Rice, Hiroshi Yamamoto, Volker Baetz, Andrew Freudenberg, Terrie Czechowski, Lucía González Lavado, Mie Takase, Stephen A. North, Ran Cartwright, Ukyou Kodachi, Danilo Arona, David Naughton-Shires, John Shirley, Jonathan Moon, Tadashi Ohta, Richard Salter, Midori Tateyama, Grant Wamack, Massimo Soumaré, Yufuko Senoh, Berry Sizemore, Ash Lomen, Adam Breckenridge, Yasumi Kobayashi, Jason Wuchenich, Ryuto Hijiri, Vittorio Catani, Joji Hayashi, Kevin David Anderson, Tamao Kanroji, Michael Moorcock, and Shinya Gaku.

Book review: Pain by Harry Shannon

Pain by Harry Shannon
Dark Regions press
121 pages

Harry Shannon is a talented writer, I have yet to read any of his novels yet, but I have always looked forward to his stories and and appearances in various magazines and anthologies. Pain is a novella, the first in a series of novellas published by Dark Regions press. It is a zombie tale that to me shares much in common with the Crazies(the Romero original more so than the excellent remake). It is the story of a small mountain town besiged by zombie like folks infected by a chemical weapon known as pain.

The book starts with a introduction by Bram Stoker award winning bestselling Author Jonathan Mayberry, I respect the man's work but frankly this intro was pretty worthless to me. The intro serves as a "Zombie genre for dummies," but honestly do we really need that? In my case it almost set the bar too high by reminding me what makes a great zombie movie/novel. More on that later.

Nine times out of ten horror writers who grew up reading Stephen King,Peter Straub and Clive Barker have the problem of over writing, as taught to those by those masters who sometimes could stand to be edited back. Here in Pain, I experienced the opposite. My biggest complaint with this novella was that I felt like we were just seeing the tip of the iceberg with this story. That is good sometimes, we don't want the whole mystery revealed all the time, but I felt rushed through this story and the characters.

It is obvious that this book began life as a screenplay, if you have ever read a screenplay they are like skeletons and they are covered in blood, guts and clothes by an entire production team and director. In this case Pain feels like a skeleton with a very cool looking robe on it. You cane still see bare bones, which is too bad but because the seeds are there.

Lots cool moments of suspense, obviously cool story telling, but in the end I felt like alot was missing. Remember when I talked about the intro. Mayberry pointed out that the best zombie movies/novels are not about zombies. We got a hint that Shannon was trying to make a statement about the military contractors but again I think there was more material just beyond the surface. I almost never say this but Pain is neat little zombie book that could have been even better with another 50 to 100 pages of depth...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

NFL picks week 2 (2011)

Bills VS Raiders: Buffalo
Packers Vs. Panthers: Green Bay
Lions Vs. Chiefs: Detroit
Colts Vs. Browns: Colts (Colts have to win this or they wont win all year)
Buc vs. Vikings: Vikings
Bears Vs. Saints: Saints ( tough one, close)
Jaguars Vs. Jets : Jags (in upset of the week.)
Steelers Vs. Seahawks: Pittsburgh ( T Jackson injured)
Ravens Vs. Titans: Baltimore slaughters a team again
Cards Vs. Redskins: Washington
Cowboys vs. 49ers: Boys
Bengals Vs. Broncos: Cincy ( This is tough to pick, they both suck)
Texans Vs. Dolphins: Dolphins
Falcons Vs. Eagles: Falcons
Rams Vs Giants: Giants (The IR bowl)

Pats Vs. Chargers: Chargers!

I might be stepping on the sword for my team. I Think this will be 28-24 final score which team wins depends on who has the ball last. Pats barely beat us last year, Brady said it was the hardest regular season game that they managed to win. We held Brady to 200 yards. This is a serious test for the Chargers but I wont be to worried if we lose, as long as we are in.

Larry Hall's picks ( fellow Charger fan and talented writer)

Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills (W)

Kansas City Chiefs at Detroit Lions (W)

Baltimore Ravens (W) at Tennessee Titans

Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts(W)

Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints (W)

Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets (W)

Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers (W)

Arizona Cardinals at Washington Redskins(W)

Green Bay Packers(W) at Carolina Panthers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (W) at Minnesota Vikings

Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers(W)

Houston Texans(W) at Miami Dolphins

Cincinnati Bengals(W) at Denver Broncos

San Diego Chargers (W) at New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons(W)

St. Louis Rams at New York Giants(W)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

NFL picks week 1 (2011)

So the plan is to pick the games each week between now and the super bowl and I'm going to keep score, see how I do by the end of the season. I'm picking the Chargers every week besides that I am going by my knowledge of the game and following football. Some big upsets this week, I think the bills will surprise the chiefs at arrowhead. The Chiefs are a mess, it will show sunday. The Detroit/ Tampa Bay game was the hardest to pick. Looking forward to Chargers of course and the Ravens and steelers game. I think the Colts are dead in the water but i hope they prove everyone wrong! Pete Carrol is crazy to start Tavaris Jackson over Whitehurst.

Pittsburgh V Baltimore: Ravens
Chicago V Atlanta: Falcons
Cincinnati V Clevland: Browns
Indy V Houston: Texans
Jacksonville V Tennessee: Titans
Buffalo V KC: Buffalo (big upset on the road!)
Philly V St.Louis: Rams (big upset!)
Detroit V Tampa Bay: Lions (tough call)
Carolina V Arizona: Cards
San Diego V Minnesota: Chargers!!!!
SF V Seattle: Niners, (unless Whitehurst goes in then hawks)
NYG V Washington: Redskins
Dallas V NYJ: Jets (ugh)
New England V Miami: Pats
Denver V Raiders: Broncos (Oak only chance is huge run game)

My Bolts prediction:I am only worried about Adrian Peterson, I think he might gut us in the first half but expect the D to tighten up after a half time adjustment. This is a totally different D than the last time AP tore us up. I think Rivers will have a huge game, as will Ryan Matthews. Pass protection will be solid and Rivers to VJ for 80 to 100 yards. I expect the bolts to win a turn-over battle forcing atleast one fumble and at least one if not two picks on Mcnabb.

Chargers 35 Vikings 17

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Football Talk: 2011 NFL predictions!!!

NFL Predictions 2011

AFC East: New England Patriots
AFC North: Ravens
AFC South: Texans
AFC West: Chargers
Wildcards: Steelers and Jets

AFC Championship: Pats VS. Chargers

Notes: Even if the colts get Peyton back the colts will not make the playoffs. Everyone keeps saying the ravens have to get get over the hump that is the steelers,I say bullshit. Two years ago the steelers were third in this division that the ravens won, if Flacco and Lee Evans continue to connect, and the young recievers bring in some new speed. Dangerous.

My Chargers record: 12-4 (might lose to Jets, pats in the the regular season), Patriots week two is a key test. Even if they lose in the regular season I think we can take them in the play-offs. We should have home field as I expect the Brady Bunch to take step backward. We might beat them but it's their home opener.

NFC East: Cowboys
NFC:South: Saints
NFC north: GB packers
NFC:West: Rams
Wildcards: Lions and Falcons

NFC: Championship Saints VS. Falcons

Notes: Stafford stays healthy and the Lions battle the bears for the wildcard spot. Surprise teams will be the cowboys and the redskins. The eagles will not gel, Vince young and Vick will both have injury problems. Cowboys surprise, that being said they are one and done in playoffs. Pete Carrol if he starts Tavaris Jackson – Whitehurst is the best QB in Seattle. Unless Carson Palmer is traded Whitehurst starts.

Super Bowl: Saints vs. Chargers

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Book Review: The Urban Fantasy Anthology by Peter S. Beagle (Editor), Joe R. Lansdale (Editor)

The Urban Fantasy Anthology by Peter S. Beagle (Editor), Joe R. Lansdale (Editor)
Paperback, 432 pages
Tachyon Publications

Ok lets make something clear upfront I am a fan of sub-genre, and as a concept I am fine with the idea of urban fantasy. One of my favorite reads last year was King Maker by Maurice Broadus which was basically gangland version of King Arthur’s court set in modern Indianapolis. That is urban fantasy, and The Crow is another fine example. Alot of my favorite stories in this collection are ones that just seemed like horror, but I am biased I suppose since horror is one of my favorite genres.

This board and diverse anthology features three sections Mythic Fiction, Paranormal romance and Noir Fantasy. Each section comes with an introduction about the sub-genre of the sun-genre and honestly those essays were my favorite part of the read. The Mythic fiction essay was written by Charles De Lint, the Romance one by Paula Guran(long time editor, agent and Cemetery Dance columnist) and bestselling author Joe R. Lansdale.

As for the stories I honestly felt my eyes rolling a lot and and many of the zombie love stories, zombie private eyes, vampire at rave yadda yada led to a lot of subconscious skipping around and less than memorable stories.

My favorite stories were the bizarre surrealist tale “Bible Repairman” by Tim Powers, “Haunted house of my very Own.” By Kelly Armstrong and the classic by Joe R. Lansdale’s "On the far side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks,” Which I read when it was released in Skipp and Spector’s classic zombie anthology “The Book of the Dead.” I was too young to understand the story the first time I read so it was awesome to relive it.

The reality about my favorite stories were they seemed like horror tales and not urban Fantasy, but what do I know. I do think regardless of my opinion as a reader and a critic this book SHOULD be in every library collection. This is a growing new sub-genre and I think this book is an important look at how and why it exists.

Should be noted that if your looking for gritty urban horror and noir of the fantastic. Joe R. Lansdale and the same publisher put out a book last year called Crucified Dreams. I reviewed on this blog, I think that was a a far superior collection.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Book Review: The Blood Bond by Bey Logan

The Blood Bond by Bey Logan
229 pages
B & E productions

Bey Logan is well known to kungfu movies nerds like me, we know his voice well. As the expert voice on the commentary tracks for Dragon Dynasty's line of DVDs. Believe me I have listened to everyone that has come into my hands. The man knows everything there is to know about kungfu movies, he has also worked as a screenwriter, producer and actor. So When I first heard about his novel I assumed it started life as a screenplay. The film was made, directed and starring cult movie star Michel Biehan(you know Corporal Hicks and Kyle Reese).

According to the authors forward Logan was happy with the film, but he enjoyed the story the way he wrote it before two other screenwriters got a hold of it. So he adapted his own screenplay into a novel.

It is the story of a woman Deva, who is a warrior given the job at birth to protect a Dali-lama like holy man named the Karmapata. When the holy leader is nearly killed on a diplomatic mission to Thailand on her watch they start a desperate search for anyone with a matching blood type. One by one the bizarre cult of zombie like warriors kill everyone in the country that provide the correct blood for a transfusion. Based on a vision Deva heads into the far north of Thailand and finds John Tremayne, who she later learns is a burnt out American former special ops solider who as luck would have it has the same type of blood needed for the transfusion. Together they have to battle strange cult warriors across the country, racing against the clock.

Logan is a screenwriter and it is no insult to say he speaks the language of the action film fluently. One of my favorite reads of last year was Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro’s Vampire Apocalypse novel The Fall, which also read like a movie. There is a pace and feeling with the quick cuts and no wasted words that filmmakers bring to novels. I really liked that about Blood Bond which felt in every way like a Hong Kong action that had to come in at 90 minutes exactly to have the most viewing possible in the day.

Blood Bond is a fun read, nothing super deep, but fans of Logan’s work and Asian action films will see it as a very clear movie in their heads. That is not to say that Logan did not give the novel some touches film cannot. The warrior Deva’s back story is nicely woven into action, and one brutal scene on page 74 to me painted a wonderful picture, and gave great depth to a side character in the narrative. Fans of Asian action film set in a contemporary setting will not want to miss this pot boiler novel. The bonus is before I got this book in the mail I had no idea Michael Biehn had directed and co-starred with Simon Yam in a movie...Got to see that.