Tag Archive for blood

23 Hours

The fourth book in David Wellington’s vampire series, 23 Hours, continues the story of Laura Caxton and her pursuit of the blood drinking monsters.  This time, due to the events of the last book, Caxton is in prison and the world’s last vampire comes to play.

I’m a huge fan of Wellington’s work, read and loved them all.  So it is no surprise that I liked this one too.  After seeing so many books using vampires as romantic objects, it is nice to return to this world where they are more like sharks, mouths full of teeth, death on two legs.  Anyway, I hope I’m not spoiling too much when I say I’ll be eagerly awaiting book five.

The Host

There is a special place reserved in hell for Stephenie Meyer.  Her Twilight series has destroyed vampires.  Only, her vampires aren’t vampires at all.  They drink blood, I think, because I honestly can’t remember any of them drinking blood in the movie.  Maybe they drink blood in the books.  I don’t know.  I’ll never read them.  The wife, who now denies ever saying this, told me that her other book, The Host, was more Sci-Fi and post-apocalyptic and she thought I would enjoy it.

I can’t say I hated the book, but I can say it definitely was not a “can’t put down” read.  I mean, I might instead say it was an “always put down” read.  During the two months it took me to plow through her 600+ page novel, if I was ever presented a choice between reading the book or doing something else I always chose to do something else.

The story of the book is this… aliens come to Earth.  These aliens are a form of parasitic being that can only live in another host body and when they do so they “take over” in that the person who was there is imprisoned deep down inside and never comes back.  These aliens aren’t hostile, in fact they are so peaceful they insist that they decided to annihilate mankind (without actually killing anyone) because humans were flawed and killing each other anyway.  They did it “for our own good”.  We get to follow one soul (what the aliens are called) who is implanted into a woman who was previously resisting the aliens.  Essentially, if a person is aware of the aliens before implantation they are more able to resist being mentally squashed.  So Melanie (the human) remains conscious inside as Wanderer takes over.  There is a lot of touchy feely stuff and eventually Wanderer decides to go out into the desert to see if she can find Jered (Melanie’s boyfriend) and Jamie (Melanie’s brother).  She does find them, and thirty five other people, hiding out there and the two of them (Melanie and Wanderer) try to find a place to fit in among the rebels.

This is definitely a “chick” book.  Most of the action happens between chapters or off screen.  Because Wanderer is our point of view for the entire book, we stay with her while she stays inside and other people run off to steal supplies and fight the bad guys.  There are a lot of emotions and feelings and crying and love and …. and a bunch of stuff that really I found I could not care less about.  Not because I’m some heartless person, but because I had no desire to care about the main character.  You see, the point of view is Wanderer, the alien, and from page one of the book I felt that the aliens were arrogant smug assholes.  At best, our heroine is an ignorant useless waste of space who has never bothered even considering that by taking over other bodies they are, in effect, killing people.  It takes nearly 600 pages for Wanderer to come to the same conclusion that I had drawn in the first chapter, and it was the most tedious and boring journey I’ve ever partaken of.

I’d always flippantly said I wouldn’t read the Twilight books, even though, given time, I probably would have eventually.  Well, thankfully now I don’t have to.  After reading this pile of pages I have absolutely no desire at all to ever read anything written by Mrs. Meyer again.  Ever.  I am sure there are people out there who would enjoy this book, in fact I’ve talked to a few of them, but I could not in good conscience recommend this to anyone.

13 Bullets

I had previously read a trilogy by David Wellington, and the short version of that review is the first book was fantastic, the second was lacking, and the third was better but not as good as the first.  However, despite the fact that I wasn’t thrilled with the second and third books, the first one was so good that I have been itching to pick up more of his stuff.  I finally did.

13 Bullets is a story about vampires.  In the world he crafts, vampires exist and everyone knows about them, but vampires are extremely rare so people often forget that they exist or at least deny to themselves that they are really real.  These are not your Anne Rice vampires, these are vicious monsters who thirst for blood.  In fact, the more they eat, the more they crave, so a smart vampire might be able to hide for a while, but eventually his thirst will lead to large enough slaughters that he can no longer go unnoticed.  These vampires don’t have two fangs, they have a set of jaws like a shark with rows of sharp teeth.

But specifically, the story is about Laura Caxton, a State Trooper in Pennsylvania who stumbles on to vampires and gets mixed up in the horror along with a U.S. Marshall who has been hunting vampires for twenty years.

Wellington’s writing in 13 Bullets is as strong as Monster Island.  I devoured the book, and am hoping that the sequel, 99 Coffins, doesn’t fall like Monster Nation did.  Definitely, though, 13 Bullets is a damn fine read, especially if you like horror.

I Am Legend

Normally, I am not a vampire guy. Except as bad guys. That whole Anne Rice immortally tortured gay blood sucker thing just put me right off. About the only time I have ever liked a vampire as the hero has been the TV show Angel.

Luckily for me, Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend isn’t about do-gooder or tortured vampires.

The story tackles an idea normally reserved for zombie movies, what if the world were overrun by vampires. A virus of some sort has swept the world and slowly the world succumbed. There are two kinds of vampires, dead ones and live ones, but there is only one man left. Robert Neville is the last man on Earth, and with no end in site, with everyone he loved gone, for some reason he just won’t give up. He keeps garlic on his doors and windows by night and goes out for supplies and to kill sleeping vampires by day.

Given the bleak subject matter, its a true testament to Matheson’s writing that the story doesn’t spiral into a morose somber mess. Instead there is an odd sense of hope, and even humor, in Robert Neville’s life. The end left me a little wanting, I understand what Matheson was doing there, but some part of me just felt a little… cheated. But the rest of the book is good enough that I’ll forgive him.

If you don’t care to read the book, it has been made into a movie a number of times in the past, although always under another name (The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price and The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston directly, and I’m sure the story influenced quite a few other films), but this year we’ll see a more direct adaptation in I Am Legend starring Will Smith. I suspect it will deviate from the book much like Mr. Smith’s previous I, Robot did. But I would still recommend reading the book.

The Alliance is Bored

Lately, as I play my new blood elf hunter, I have been frequenting the Tarren Mill and Hammerfall.

Tarren Mill is under attack!

Why yes, yes it is. Tarren Mill is being slaughtered, probably as you read this. A group of well geared level 70’s are sitting on the hill (or worse, sitting in town) killing all the NPCs. The master tailor is dead, so are the quest givers, and the innkeeper… everyone, all gone. You get maybe five minutes to do your thing after respawns before they wade in again.

Hammerfall is under attack!

Look! Epic mounted level 70’s are riding through town again and killing everything! The guards at the entrance to the battleground are dead? You don’t say! Oh look, they’ve accidently attacked the flight path guy, all those spawns should keep them out for twenty minutes.

But why do I say the Alliance is bored? Well, because 95% of the Horde who frequent these areas are level 25 to 35, and most of the NPCs are 40 to 50. Are there no battlegrounds for these people to fight in? Are there no towers for them to siege? Oh… wait… I forgot, the Alliance outnumber the Horde on Durotan… I’d tell you by how much, but despite all the info you can see in the Armory you can’t get simple info like population counts! But wait, players have been running a census for a long time, so while not 100% accurate, it is close… almost 3 to 1.

So far, I’m decent at PvP, but I haven’t been able to win a 3 to 1 fight, especially when I’m level 32 and my opponents are all over 60.

If you read my blog, and you want to play WoW, come to Durotan and play on the Horde side. I’m usually playing Calibre or Wayd. Look me up and maybe I’ll hook you up with a little funds to get you up and running as long as you promise to spit in the eye of any Alliance you run across.

Tagged for Five

It appears that I’ve been tagged with the latest of internet fads (some people like to call them memes, but whatever). So, I’m supposed to tell you five things that you might not know about me… damn, I’ve been putting crap on the internet since June of 1998, I think I might be out of stuff to tell… but here goes and forgive me if any of this is a repeat:

  1. After failing 5 out of 9 classes in three quarters at Southern Tech (now Southern Polytechnic), I was invited to leave. I could blame it on the girl. I could blame it on me leaving the girl after she broke my heart. I could blame it on my deciding to take a full time job. I could blame it on the lure of the student center in winter, the 25 cent cups of hot chocolate and the endless loops of Article 99 and other movies. But the truth is, despite having graduated High School with less than a 2.5 GPA, I actually took and passed 2 AP Exams which allowed me to skip several college classes and the ones I took (2 of the 4 classes I passed) first quarter where, for me, repeats of stuff I had to learn for the AP Exams. So I barely went to class and still got A’s. I thought to myself, “This college stuff is easy!” and I continued not going to class because… I didn’t want to go. So yes, my grades were actually 4 A’s (first quarter), 3 F’s (second quarter) and 2 F’s (third quarter). It was at this point my parents stopped paying for school, I was invited to transfer to another (easier) college and finally learned what my parents had known since I started pulling C’s in 8th grade: My grades weren’t bad because I was stupid, my grades were bad because I was lazy. I stopped being lazy and started making the A’s and B’s I should have been getting all along. Some lessons have a price, this one cost me 4 years of tuition out of my own pocket.
  2. I ask people to remind me of things so I will remember them without being reminded. Its really funny because if I try to remember important stuff on my own, I forget. But, if I tell someone, “Hey, remind me later to…” I never forget and don’t need the reminding. So, I’ve taken up the habit of asking people to remind me of anything I want to remember. It used to drive my wife insane until she learned to ignore anything I asked her to remind me of.
  3. My nose has not stopped bleeding since I was 11 years old. And I’m 32 now. I remember the first time it happened. We lived in Pennsylvania at the time, and we were outside clearing the snow off the drive way. I thought my nose was running, but the look on my mother’s face is something I’ll never forget. I actually thought she was looking at something behind me, and I turned around, slipped, and fell into the snow. When I got up, there was a big patch of red snow where I had fallen. There was blood down the front of my face and jacket. Most days it just bleeds a little and is held back with some light sniffling (over 21 years I’ve probably said the phrase “No, I don’t have a cold”, umm, eleventy billion times), other days I have to stuff my nose with a tissue or cotton to help it back up and clot and scab. I’ve had four different doctors look at the problem, which has resulted in two failed attempts to cauterize the inside of my sinuses and my complete and utter loss of faith in the phrase “Just relax, this will only hurt a little bit.” I have been told that I could have surgery, something similar to that which they do for people with a deviated septum or a small skin transplant, but not only do they not guarantee it would solve the problem, I have yet to have an insurance carrier willing to cover it either claiming it is a pre-existing condition or that its elective cosmetic surgery. All in all, the skin inside my nose is thin, and changes in humidity and/or temperature (you know, stuff like turning on the heater in my car or entering an air conditioned building) can cause it to crack and split. On the bright side, I have been instructed not to donate blood since if I were to have a serious nose bleed immediately after getting blood taken there could be serious problems (like passing out and death and stuff).
  4. I keep a list of all the people I’ve promised things to should I ever win the lottery. And before you start asking, I only make promises to people who ask for reasonable stuff that I think they could really benefit from.
  5. I wear both an engagement ring and a wedding ring. When I first met a girl I thought I might marry (see item 1 on this list), I came up with this wacky idea. That relationship didn’t work out. Neither did any of them for the next nine years, then I asked my then girlfriend (now wife) to marry me and explained the idea, which she loved, and we did it (sort of). Now, let me explain… Marriage, to me, has always been about two things, love and the relationship. The wedding ring, traditionally a gold ring, is a symbol of love. Gold doesn’t fade, it doesn’t tarnish, just like love. If you have ever loved someone, you will always love them, they may change and you may not love the person they become, but you will always love the person you fell in love with. Love doesn’t fade, it doesn’t tarnish. The engagement ring, to me, is a symbol of the relationship. This ring is silver. Silver, you see, if left alone, if not cared for, will tarnish, turn ugly. You have to tend to silver, polish it, work with it. Just like a relationship. You have to care for your marriage, you have to talk and work things out. The silver engagement ring is a symbol of our willingness to commit to that work. Commitment and Love, Silver and Gold. Only, it turns out the girl I asked to marry me is allergic to Nickel, which is used in about 99.99999% of gold alloys, so we went with Titanium instead, because it too does not tarnish with the added bonus that if I’m ever on a deep sea mining rig that is flooding, I can use the ring to stop a pressure door from closing. To that end, my wife and I have matching silver engagement bands (right ring finger) and matching titanium wedding rings (left ring finger).

And there you have it… now I’m supposed to tag five people, and I’m going to be mean and introduce this fad (meme) to MySpace. Kevin, Kelly, A.J., T.D., and Jason… Suck it!

There`s nothing like a good scare to get the blood pumping.

It’s October. This means two things: Oktoberfest and Halloween.

Since I haven’t made the jaunt up to Helen, GA for the beer sloshing fun of Oktoberfest yet, that means I’m talking about Halloween.

Last night, some friends and I made the trip out to Tom Savini’s Nightmare Haunted House and Crypt of Terror. Both of these places are well done within the constraints of the law.

Yep, as the woman outside will inform you, “The monsters inside WILL jump out at you, but they WILL NOT touch you.” And with that in mind, there was really nothing left to be scared about.

For me anyway… For one of our group, everything was scary. She must have screamed or skittered away from every shadow and ghoul from entrance to exit.

In any event, haunted houses are cool. Even though you know you can’t be touched since the owners fear lawsuits more than they fear the undead (lawyers are much more frightening than flesh eating zombies anyway), a well done haunted house will use suspense to build up your expectations of a man leaping out from the next corner… then NOT having him leap out and putting him at the turn after that. You know, the one right after you relaxed… Good stuff.

So, if you happen to be in the Atlanta, GA area and want to spend an hour or so and $22, go visit these two places. It was worth my hard earned dollar.