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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Demian Katz's LiveJournal:

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Friday, September 20th, 2013
11:08 pm
Book Review: Marion Arleigh's Penance
Can it be? Have I actually finished reading all the fake Brame in Project Gutenberg? It appears that, after Marion Arleigh's Penance, all the remaining Brame books on the site were actually written by Brame (though A Fair Mystery is a bit murky, being most likely a Brame novel that was later modified by another author). I may have to take a break before continuing this reading project, but I'm glad to have put this particular phase behind me.

So, Marion Arleigh's Penance. An orphaned heiress is exploited by a greedy brother and sister who pretend to be her friend and lover when they really just want her money. In the end, true love triumphs (sorry, spoilers again, but really, did you doubt it?). Along the way, there is lots of mental anguish (both in the mind of the heroine, who like most of her kin is rather dim and subject to "brain fever," and in the mind of the reader, who has to endure a lot of moralistic lecturing about the glories of the upper class and the baseness of the lower class). I can't honestly think of any justification for reading this book, so go ahead and save yourself the trouble -- it does little to distinguish itself from the rest, and I will likely have forgotten all about it within a couple of days.
Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
10:57 pm
Book Review: My Mother's Rival
Pathos used to get a lot more respect. In my travels through 19th-century story papers, I've seen several tales bragging to be "the most pathetic story ever told." Now that I've read My Mother's Rival, I think I may have some idea what they are aiming for. This is yet another "Charlotte M. Braeme" story that was actually written by an unknown author other than Charlotte M. Brame, and it is brimming over with pathos!

I'm just going to go ahead and spoil this one. There's really not much to spoil, and you don't need to read it yourself. Trust me. This is another first-person narrative, this time with a female protagonist, Laura Tayne, teenage daughter of Lord and Lady Tayne. Miss Tayne's character is entirely defined by her love for her mother -- she speaks of little else through the entire story, and she has no other motivation or interests. It is, in a word, pathetic. Lady Tayne is an accomplished and beautiful woman who, after a disastrous childbirth, is rendered immobile and, I'm sure you have already guessed, rather pathetic. The titular rival is a governess hired to teach Laura who instead sets her sights on Lord Tayne, who proves pathetically easy to manipulate. In the end, Lord Tayne is successfully lured away from his wife, who instantly dies of sorrow, but he eventually learns to regret his unfaithfulness, finally dying upon her grave. THE END!

Perhaps there are more pathetic stories out there, but this one puts forth a pretty good effort at beating the reader to death with gloom and despair. Too bad there's no character or plot or apparent purpose to it -- just woe and wishing for death and eventually, actual death. I suppose this was meant as a cautionary tale of some sort, but it's really hard to imagine who would enjoy reading it -- I enjoy a sad story now and then, but this isn't sad. It's just pathetic.
Thursday, September 12th, 2013
8:29 pm
Book Review: The Tragedy of the Chain Pier
I got through yet another "Charlotte Braeme" novel confirmed to be written by someone (unknown) other than Charlotte Brame: The Tragedy of the Chain Pier. It's the best of the non-Brame Braemes so far, but that's not saying much -- it has a plot driven entirely by coincidence (or, as the author would prefer, Providence), but at least it has some interesting elements, which is more than can be said for some of my other recent reads.

The plot is pretty simple: an ill man visiting Brighton to restore his health witnesses a crime; years later, his best friend marries, and he discovers that the wife is the woman he saw that fateful night in Brighton. She seems nice, so moral dilemmas ensue. It ends in a convenient but unsatisfying way.

The thing that I found rather unusual here was the book's portrayal of the protagonist's relationship with his friend. One passage to give the flavor:

"You can imagine how I loved Lance Fleming; the love that other men give to wives, children, parents and relatives I lavished on him. I loved his fair, handsome face, his laughing blue eyes, his sunny smile, his cheery voice; I loved his warm-hearted, genial manner. In fact, I loved the whole man, just as he was, with a love passing that of women—loved him as I shall love no other."

That's not the only such sentiment expressed in the story. Presumably the author did not intend to raise any eyebrows by this -- but it is nonetheless interesting. It gets even more interesting and complicated when you consider that this is a book written by an unknown author (quite possibly, though not necessarily, a man) writing under a female name, writing a first-person male narrative. I'm sure somebody in gender studies could get a paper out of it somehow.

In any case, my quest continues -- next time, My Mother's Rival.
Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
10:11 pm
Book Review: Coralie
Today I finished reading another "Charlotte Braeme" story that was not actually written by Charlotte Brame: Coralie, which, if anything, was even worse than The Coquette's Victim. The story distinguishes itself by featuring a first-person narrative from the perspective of a male protagonist, but the actual content is tedious and insulting. A poor clerk unexpectedly inherits an estate, which gives him hope for his paralyzed sister -- but the woman currently living there makes his life complicated. That makes it sound more interesting than what it actually is: a standard-issue tale of love at first sight, good women who know their place, bad women who (gasp!) attempt to assert themselves too much, and tragedy that strikes only when convenient. You can safely skip this one -- it only serves to underscore my earlier point that Dora Thorne had a great deal more going on in it than can be expected of this type of literature.
Monday, September 9th, 2013
8:25 pm
Book Review: The Coquette's Victim
As I mentioned in my previous post, poor Charlotte M. Brame got a pretty poor treatment by American publishers. Not only did they steal her work royalty-free (which, at the time, was perfectly legal, if not ethical) but they couldn't even spell her name right half the time, or they put completely fictional names on her books. Occasionally, they even pulled a reversal and put her name on things she didn't write. If the definitive Brame bibliography can be believed -- and I think it can be -- such is the case for my latest read, The Coquette's Victim.

Very little needs to be said about this work. If Dora Thorne exceeded my low expectations, this one completely lived down to them. After some introductory chapters that might have been intriguing if the story's title didn't make the nature of the drama blatantly obvious, it settles into a predictable tale where a one-dimensional, idealistic young gentleman learns a hard lesson at the hands of a one-dimensional, selfish coquette. The best thing I can say for it is that it's very concise -- more of a novella than a novel -- so you don't suffer too long while reading it.

I'm a glutton for punishment, though -- I'll be working my way through more mock Brame in the coming weeks. I'll report back if I find something good... or if I don't.
Thursday, September 5th, 2013
6:28 pm
Book Review: Dora Thorne
Having successfully revisited Frank Merriwell, I next thought I would pay a little attention to Charlotte Brame, another name that was once quite widely known and is now completely forgotten. Of course, things were a bit more complicated for Ms. Brame since in America she was often known as either "Bertha M. Clay" or "The author of Dora Thorne" -- a long story that I won't get into right now -- but the point is that a lot of people were reading her books a century or so ago... and not so much today. I've been curious to see what the fuss was about.

My first encounter with Brame was my reading of The Shadow of a Sin, which I thought had a good setup and a fairly weak follow-through. For my second reading, I thought I would go for Dora Thorne -- if some publishers decided to use the title of this book to promote the author's other works, it must be a good one, right? As it happens, I wasn't disappointed.

Obviously, it has to be said that there are very obvious reasons that this book has been forgotten. It's written in the story paper style -- flowery descriptions, heavy-handed foreshadowing, "tell don't show" storytelling, etc., etc. It's very concerned with British class distinctions, it is peppered with vaguely derogatory statements about the idea of "woman's rights," and it seems likely that it was written with the intent of justifying the existence of the conservative status quo. If you don't read this book with a certain degree of tolerance and relativism, you will quickly turn against it.

But... there's a but. In spite of the clunky prose, in spite of the inherent bigotry, there's some meat to this one. I expected an insubstantial "people fall in love, misunderstand each other, get back together, HAPPY ENDING!" sort of story... and there's a bit of that here, but it's more complicated. While some of Brame's characters are pretty shallow, and most of them are pretty stupid, for the most part, they seem human -- the twists of the story come from characters behaving in ways that make sense within the constraints of their world, rather than from authorial contrivances designed purely to startle the reader. Don't get me wrong, I like a good authorial contrivance now and again -- people in horror movies have to go to the basement eventually -- but once in a while it's nice to see people acting like people in this kind of story. If you forgive the contextual elements that make the book distasteful to the modern reader, you're left with a story, filled with conflict but free of villains, about people learning the hard lesson that love doesn't solve everything -- and that's refreshing to find in what is essentially a romance novel.

So here's my proposal. I'm getting tired of watching the BBC endlessly remake the same tired old classics that they've already done perfectly good adaptations of. Why doesn't somebody take a look at some Charlotte Brame? Poor old Dora hasn't been seen on screen since a 1915 Lionel Barrymore movie that is now lost to the ages. I think it could work. Of course, nobody is listening to me -- but you saw it here first.
Tuesday, August 27th, 2013
9:49 pm
Book Review: Frank Merriwell's Schooldays
So, Mr. Merriwell, we meet again.

Since my review of Frank Merriwell's Backers, dime novels have become kind of a big thing in my life. The bibliographic seed was planted in my mind, and I could not rest until I had helped to bring dimenovels.org to life. That's a whole other story, but the point is that initially, I didn't really expect to see much more of Frank Merriwell after April of last year. Now things are a little different.

On a recent book hunt, I stumbled upon a copy of Frank Merriwell's Schooldays, the very first Merriwell adventure. This is a somewhat unusual edition -- it was issued in the 1970's and is edited by someone named Jack Rudman, to what extent I am not sure, but presumably as an excuse for applying a new copyright to a book taken from the public domain. It's published by "Smith Street," a rather unsubtle play on the original "Street & Smith" publishers. It's a fairly amateurish production, with an ugly font and a lot of typos. Hard to say exactly how true this is to the original, but it was $1.50, so I couldn't turn it down. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and assume that it's not too far changed from the original text.

The book tells the story of Merriwell's arrival at Fardale Academy (a military school modeled on West Point), introduces a variety of characters, and culminates in a rather tedious baseball game. As with the other Merriwell book I read, the incidents are largely ridiculous, the ethnic stereotypes are cringe-inducing (though, given that the stereotypes in this book are all of European origin, not quite as insulting as they could have been), and Merriwell himself is a bland ideal whose actions sometimes seem less wonderful than the author seems to believe them -- particularly when he randomly decides to use his skills at ventriloquism to cause senseless havoc. It also probably goes without saying that the heroine is astonishingly uninteresting.

In spite of its obvious and predictable flaws, I once again found this an enjoyable read -- the sheer randomness of some of the plot developments and the ridiculous lengths Frank's enemies take to try to thwart him keep the pages flying by at a swift pace. I only found things lagging during the all-too-detailed baseball finale, but even this was somewhat redeemed by a shockingly abrupt and abbreviated cliff-hanging finale that I'd love to describe here, except it feels wrong to spoil it. So random, so senseless, and thus, so perfect. I'd say you can't make this stuff up, but obviously somebody could.

I see that the second volume in the series, Frank Merriwell's Chums, is available at Project Gutenberg, so perhaps I'll continue with the adventures before too long. I doubt I'll ever read the whole series (a ridiculously lengthy undertaking), but I think it will be fun to get a little taste now and again.
Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
8:21 am
"Daddy, Button!" Otto commented on my shirt today.

"How many?" I asked, not expecting an answer.

He pointed, and began counting, "1-- 2--"

I was somewhat amazed. He continued, "7-- 13-- 9!"

I guess we still have some work to do.
Saturday, February 16th, 2013
3:19 pm
Book Review: Dainty's Cruel Rivals; or, The Fatal Birthday
So, in case you haven't talked to me recently, I should probably mention something. My chance encounter with Frank Merriwell has left more of an impression than I initially thought it would. I've become a dime novel addict. A lot of this has to do with the fact that we discovered a forgotten collection of them at the library where I work. And yes, at least one book in that pile was about dear old Frank.

I'm not here to talk about Frank Merriwell, though -- I'm here to introduce Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller, poet turned author of bestselling sensational romance novels. Included in Villanova's collection was a highly entertaining dual volume containing her classic The Bride of the Tomb; or, Lancelot Darling's Betrothed and Queenie's Terrible Secret; or, A Young Girl's Strange Fate. The contents are even better than the titles -- but that's another story; see Laura Bang's review (and my attached comments) for more details.

Anyway, the experience of reading this silliness left me a Mrs. Miller fan, and so on my recent trip to Code4Lib, I decided to read the only other title of hers currently available as an e-book: Dainty's Cruel Rivals; or, The Fatal Birthday. (Don't worry, by the way -- when I'm done, there will be more out there).

The short version: this isn't as much fun as the earlier titles I read -- it's a little less wacky and a whole lot less progressive -- but it has a few gems that make me glad I've read it. I'll conceal the details behind a spoiler tag just in case you don't want them revealed too soon....

[The gory details]
Plot summary:

Dainty is poor but beautiful; she lives with her mother and two cousins who are jealous of her beauty. Dainty and her cousins are invited to visit their aunt at the Ellsworth estate, where the aunt's rich and eligible step-son has just returned from Europe. Needless to say, Dainty falls in love with charming Lovelace Ellsworth, her aunt and cousins try to prevent marriage by various means and for various reasons, and general wackiness ensues.

Key highlights:

- A ruined castle haunted by the ghost of a consumptive monk (actually an evil Irish maid in disguise... somehow)

- A variety of attempted murders (it's sort of hard to come up with an exact count)

- An apparent death followed by resurrection in a dramatic thunderstorm (that's three for three on the "heroine killed and resurrected" formula in Mrs. Miller novels)

- An insane asylum containing an inmate who believes that he is a grain of corn and has fits upon seeing chickens (he was accompanied by the usual array of stereotypical madmen -- but this one was a nice touch)

- A deus ex machina ending in which a seemingly hopeless situation is resolved with the help of SCIENCE (a nice example of popular literature adjusting to reflect contemporary events)

- Lots of gratuitous poetry (good to see Mrs. Miller finding her joy while writing stuff that she probably wasn't especially proud of)

Obviously this is not for everyone -- indeed, I'm not exactly sure why it is for me. But whatever the reason, it made me smile a lot while I read it (in between the cringing at the unfortunate ethnic stereotypes). They don't make them like this anymore.
Friday, July 20th, 2012
1:03 pm
Book Review: Yule Logs
After finishing Frank Merriwell's Backers, I wanted to work on another Distributed Proofreaders project. I was in the mood for more fiction, but that seems to be in short supply. I had just one option, a short story collection called Yule Logs. I wasn't incredibly excited to read a bunch of Christmas stories, but I figured I'd give it a try anyway. Then I looked at the list of illustrations. Things like "He fell forward dead in the black swamp" and "I struck Violetta sharply and she galloped off like an arrow." Clearly these weren't the types of Christmas stories I was expecting.

Of course, then I remembered that I had recently read in Ted Striphas' The Late Age of Print about how the book industry was one of the first to contribute to the much-lamented commercialization of Christmas by publishing collections of stories intended to be given as gifts. This particular title is an example of that now-forgotten phenomenon. Although there are Yule Logs in the title, none are to be found inside.

The book is actually a collection of adventure stories, covering many subgenres. There are attempts to liberate Cuba, battles against Indians, encounters with vengeful slavers, and Wild West shoot-outs. None of this is brilliant literature, but it remains entirely readable. My favorite was The Badge of the Fourth Foot, which has an enjoyable Gothic flavor with its ghost-haunted Scottish castle setting. Also somewhat memorable (though less enjoyable) was The Venture of the Bertha Whaler, a boys' adventure yarn set in Antarctica notably mainly for demonstrating the long way that penguins have come in children's literature since the 19th century. Now they are universally-loved; then, they were shot for sport by little boys.

Obviously, this is not something I would ever have chosen to read if I hadn't been working on a Distributed Proofreaders project, but once again, I enjoyed it more than I expected to. If nothing else, it's worth a look at the illustrations, which provide a surprisingly detailed and diverse selection of artwork to accompany the largely formulaic fiction.

It's been a few months since I worked on this; I should start thinking about starting a third project! If there's something in the queue (login required) you'd like to see finished, feel free to make suggestions.
Friday, April 13th, 2012
3:04 pm
Book Review: Frank Merriwell's Backers
As I mentioned in my last post, I've been reading a lot of public domain books on my e-reader. This took me to Project Gutenberg a lot, which in turn reminded me of the Distributed Proofreaders project. Distributed Proofreaders is a site where you can help create Project Gutenberg books by proofreading computer-generated text derived from scanned page images. The more you proofread, the more advanced tasks you are allowed to perform on the site. This became an irresistible challenge, and I've now worked my way up to the rank of "post-processor." The post-processor gets to take all the individual pages edited by other members and turn them into a single coherent text. I wanted to start out with something relatively easy, and a veteran member of the site kindly provided me with a suitable candidate. That's how I met Frank Merriwell.

Frank Merriwell first appeared in the late 19th century in a publication called Tip-Top Weekly which serialized his adventures on a weekly basis. They were later compiled into longer dime novels which remained popular for decades. Frank is your typical generic hero: he is unwilling to do anything even remotely immoral (apart from shooting at people) and is unreasonably good at absolutely everything he tries. Everyone loves him (unless they're crazy or evil, in which case they still respect him), and he can do no wrong. From what I gather, the series started out as a sort of school days melodrama but went in a lot of different directions over time -- a hybrid soap opera and cliffhanger serial.

The book which I ended up with was Frank Merriwell's Backers, in which Frank tries to retain ownership of valuable mines that his enemies want to take away from him. It's essentially a Western with dusty towns and Indians and lots of shooting. I expected to find this completely unreadable, since I have no interest in the subject matter and the book is overflowing with cringe-inducing casual racism. Much to my surprise, though, I found it rather fascinating. Some of this is simple affection for a book that has become "my" project. Some of it is my collector's instinct, which finds any lengthy collection of numbered volumes interesting on some fundamental level regardless of what they contain. Quite a bit has to do with reflecting on the dramatically different standards for "wholesome boys' entertainment" that existed in 1903. But aside from all of that, there's the allure of fast-paced, action-packed junk reading.

Believe me, there is no question that this is junk -- the writing is sloppy (how many times can you include the word "ruffian" in one book?) and the characters are shallow and frequently irritating (Frank's glowing perfection is obviously ridiculous, and his friend Jack has to be one of the most annoying characters in literature thanks to his awkward pseudo-intellectual verbosity). In spite of that, it's remarkably readable -- the cliffhanger-filled serial format forces a fast pace, and things just keep moving right up to the end (which, of course, just sets you up for the next book in line). The author was no grand master of literature, but when you consider the volume of work he produced, the pace at which it was written, and the fact that its popularity endured for so long, he was obviously a skilled entertainer.

I'm obviously not desperate to find and read the next Frank Merriwell book (I can probably live the rest of my life without finding out whether or not Frank keeps his mines), but I wouldn't turn down an opportunity to work on another one, and I'm proud that my first major Distributed Proofreaders project is now available to the public on Project Gutenberg. I'll definitely continue working on other e-book projects as time permits.
Monday, January 16th, 2012
9:03 am
Book Review: A Journey in Other Worlds
Okay, so it's been almost three years since I posted. Oops. But this seems like a good place for a new occasional project. I recently acquired an e-reader and became addicted to it. However, since I like to feel that I actually own my books, I won't support publishers that use DRM and require me to jump through hoops to read their books. This means I've been hitting the public domain fairly heavily, which turns out to be just fine -- just because something was published before 1923 doesn't mean it can't be interesting. So from time to time I'll try to post here about an unusual find.

Some of my guidance in exploring the public domain has come from H. P. Lovecraft. His book collection is well-documented (see Lovecraft's Library), and since I've always found his work intriguing, I though it would be fun to investigate some of his influences. I've read and enjoyed quite a few already, but A Journey in Other Worlds by John Jacob Astor is the first book unusual enough to inspire extended commentary (though Robert W. Chambers' The King in Yellow, with its odd tonal shift from horror to romance, came pretty close).

Written in 1894 by an author who would later be lost with the Titanic, A Journey in Other Worlds is a very early example of science fiction. I don't know all the details of early sci-fi history, but I at least know enough to say that this well predates the term "science fiction" yet shows many hallmarks of the genre that would later develop. The author really did give lengthy thought to the science behind his adventures (sometimes to the extent of including tables and diagrams alongside his text), and this has to be one of the earliest examples of a "future history," detailing how the world changed between its 19th century publication and its projected future of the year 2000.

The basic plot of the book is simple enough: Earth is on its way to becoming a paradise thanks to brilliant men who figured out how to straighten its axis and thus equalize the climate world-wide. Through the discovery of an anti-gravity force called apergy, some of this brave axis-straighteners decide to search for further glory by visiting other planets of the solar system. As you may have gathered, some of the author's predictions of the future were just a little bit off. Let's not even go into the prediction that government would get over senseless politics and get down to the business of making life better for everyone. But there are a few surprisingly accurate visions -- something rather like a hybrid car is described, for example. A few predictions are even a bit modest, like the fact that many Americans could expect to live into their sixties!

In any case, the initial chapters combine hard science with a bit of manly Edgar Rice Burroughs-style adventure as our heroes go to Jupiter and encounter dinosaurs and other giant monsters. Also, they shoot lots of animals for the sheer fun of it, wonder whether there are any inferior races around for them to conquer, and generally act like arrogant, colonialist jerks. I never claimed this was a good book, but it's an interesting study.

Just when you think you know where this book is going (or rather, probably not going), our protagonists (heroes really isn't the right word) decide to proceed to Saturn. Then things get really strange. You see, Saturn is where God sends all the good souls. Yes, you heard me. Hell, it turns out, is on a planet beyond the known solar system (which I guess means Pluto). I'm sure by this point, the book will have managed to offend just about any modern reader regardless of scientific and/or theological perspective. But what's interesting is how the science and the theology are seamlessly intertwined, with each helping to explain the other. I'm not saying that the explanations are convincing, but my point is simply that it's interesting to see a book that could be equally described as scientific and religious fiction. There are lots of subsequent books that attempt to explain away religion with science or vice versa, but it's unusual to see a story that leans in neither direction but seems to give equal merit to both. Obviously that's not my own perspective on the situation, but it's nonetheless interesting to see.

I'd love to hear what Lovecraft thought of all this, he being such a vocal atheist. But, for all the offensive attitudes and dated ideas of the book (not to mention the incredibly stilted romance that I've neglected to mention previously), the author does display considerable imagination. And perhaps, if nothing else, Lovecraft would have enjoyed some of his visions of alien life. For example:

Nature, in the process of evolution, has in all these cases gone off on an entirely different course, the most intelligent and highly developed species being in the form of marvellously complex reptiles, winged serpents that sing most beautifully, but whose blood is cold, being prevented from freezing in the upper regions of the atmosphere by the presence of salt and chemicals, and which are so intelligent that they have practically subdued many of these dark stars to themselves. On others, the most highly developed species have hollow, bell-shaped tentacles, into which they inject two or more opposing gases from opposite sides of their bodies, which, in combination, produce a strong explosion. This provides them with an easy and rapid locomotion, since the explosions find a sufficient resistance in the surrounding air to propel the monsters much faster than birds. These can at pleasure make their breath so poisonous that the lungs of any creatures except themselves inhaling it are at once turned to parchment. Others can give their enemies or their prey an electric shock, sending a bolt through the heart, or can paralyze the mind physically by an effort of their wills, causing the brain to decompose while the victim is still alive. Others have the same power that snakes have, though vastly intensified, mesmerizing their victims from afar.

Well, that's something to think on, anyway.
Sunday, April 12th, 2009
7:47 am
Oh no! Billy's arm's off! Good thing we've got band-aids.
I like the fact that my box of Rite-Aid brand sheer bandages says "SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP IN MEDICAL EMERGENCIES" on it. Really?
Sunday, September 14th, 2008
4:28 pm
The snails... oh, the snails...
Well, my pets are certainly a success. Guppy population has risen from eight to twenty-seven-ish (it's hard to count... they are small and move around constantly). Snail population has risen from somewhere around a dozen to somewhere around crawling nightmare (dropping a food pellet into the tank results in an impressive little mountain of shells rising slowly up from the gravel). So it's official: we've set up a second tank. The guppies are going to be separated by gender to put an end to their promiscuous ways, and the snails... well, you can't stop them. But at least they'll have more land to conquer.

This all pleases me greatly. Just hit me if I start talking about tank #3.

Current Mood: greatly pleased
Sunday, August 3rd, 2008
7:15 pm
Today's valuable life lesson
If you are going to force your way through a hedge of Rose of Sharon bushes, you should tuck your shirt into your pants. Otherwise, a bumblebee might fly up there, and that would inevitably end badly for all parties involved.

Sunday, July 13th, 2008
7:53 am
BlobFest Report
BlobFest is always one of the highlights of my summer, so inevitably I was there yesterday. This being the 50th anniversary year for the film, I was expecting a little something extra. Unfortunately for me, the little something extra mostly consisted of a bigger crowd than ever before. I got there a little later than usual since I didn't feel like having to fill any more downtime between events than I was already expecting to deal with, and by then, the afternoon double feature (with Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3-D) was already sold out. Vendors seemed a little sparse this year (pretty much the same crew as always, except the usual DVD dealers were absent -- bootleg crackdown, maybe?), and I had nothing profound to say to Tom Savini or Ricou Browning (who both looked bored -- I always feel sorry for the BlobFest guests), so I ended up spending much of the afternoon wandering around Phoenixville with midianlord. Eventually, more of the gang showed up, and we killed time at Steel City until the late double feature.

This makes for a BlobFest downtime record of some sort. Pretty much six hours of nothing (not that I mind hanging out with my friends... but nothing in the Blob-related sense) before we got to the festivities. Fortunately, it was pretty much worth the wait -- Ghoul a-Go-Go seems to be getting ever more entertaining, The Blob is always a treat, and The Tingler was a perfect choice for a companion film... especially with Colonial volunteers buzzing seats randomly and lifelike (well... how do you describe an accurate replica of one the least convincing film monsters ever?) glow-in-the-dark Tinglers.

My overall opinion of BlobFest hasn't been changed by this year -- it's good fun, but it still needs to work on making better use of its guests and filling the schedule so that staying for the whole day is worthwhile. Nonetheless, I'm glad I went, and I'll almost certainly return next year.

Current Mood: blobby
Thursday, April 24th, 2008
9:13 pm
Sunday, March 30th, 2008
8:38 pm
This amuses me greatly.
Sunday, December 30th, 2007
7:21 am
2007: Year in Review
Well, the year's almost over, so I figured I should probably post something, since I haven't written very much this year. As it happens, that's largely because this has been an incredibly uneventful year... but uneventful in the best possible way. Nothing life-changing or earth-shattering has happened this year; just been business as usual, with quite a bit of fun along the way. I suppose the complete lack of anything unusual about this year is the unusual thing about this year -- I don't expect to have many years this pleasantly quiet. We'll see what 2008 has to say about the situation soon enough.

Current Mood: pleasantly uneventful
Saturday, November 3rd, 2007
8:07 pm
As a general rule, I try to avoid collectible games, as they are a dangerous money vacuum. However, I'm not sure if I'll be able to resist this.
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