Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Obviously, They Will Be Missed
Heartless Bastards cancel at Blueberry Hill

Monday, December 22, 2008
In Retrospect, You Can Do More Than Try

In retrospect, it really wasn't that hard to stop a Rough Riders 4x4s at all. As I recall, any of the obstacles in the commercials would easily stop the production models.

Book Report: The Moment She Was Gone by Evan Hunter (2002)
Although I would read anything with Ed McBain's name on it pretty eagerly (well, okay, the Matthew Hope novels are not as compelling as the 87th Precinct novels and such), I buy and hold Hunter novels with some trepidation. I didn't like how Last Summer turned out, so I fear that each will come with some sort of sudden, unsettling twist at the end.

This book starts when the twin sister of the narrator disappears from his mother's apartment; she's run off apparently. As the family gathers at the mother's apartment, flashbacks tell the story of the troubled young woman, prone to traveling and telling exotic stories that are unbelieveable. Recently, the narrator has had to travel to Sicily to get her out of a mental health ward. He starts connecting the dots and incidents from her past and wonders if she really is crazy.

I wondered if we were in for a twist such as the narrator didn't exist, the sister didn't exist, or some sort of incest or molestation thing. But I was pleasanly surprised. The book is really just the story of a family coming to terms with the number of times it has overlooked, willfully, examples of schizophrenic behavior and what they do when they cannot deny it any longer.

Books mentioned in this review:

Book Report: Great Lakes: A Photographic Journey by Ann McCarthy (1992)
This book includes a 30 page vast summary history/travelogue about the Great Lakes region and a number of photos from the area. I thought the overview history was interesting enough as an idea source for historical pieces, but I really started taking it with a salt lick when they told me about Pierre Jacques Marquette in one place and identifying him as Father Jacques Marquette in two places. So maybe use it for ideas, but not as source material once you get the ideas.

The photos were beautiful. One of Chicago is taken from about where the Hyatt stands on the Chicago river, and the view is up Michigan Avenue. I can see the place where I posed for a picture beneath the Chicago Tribune building and can almost make out the place where the stairs take you down to the Billy Goat Tavern.

Two of Milwaukee feature the skyline, one looking up Wisconsin and Wells and another from over the breakwater pier. I showed Heather where my father took my brothers and me fishing, where Heather and I ate at a little cafe right as it opened, and where the art museum's addition is (not pictured in these older photos). I'll have to look back at them to see if I can pick out Downtown Books and the Safe House.

So, yeah, it made me homesick during a week where it's been cold enough here but not snowy, unlike my home.

Books mentioned in this review:

Sunday, December 21, 2008
Book Report: Back to the Future Part II by Craig Shaw Gardner (1989)
Last month, I read Back to the Future, so I was surprised and pleased to find I actually had this book in paperback hidden behind the trim in one of my book cases. As you know, gentle reader, the Sauder bookshelves have decorative trim that turns inward on the book cases; if you're a double-stacker, like me, you know to put paperbacks behind the trim and then full size hardbacks when it ends. So if you want a paperback, look behind the trim. I was looking for a paperback, and I found this one.

Unlike its predecessor, this book follows the shooting script of the film pretty well. That is, I only found one particular deviation ("Mom! You're so....big!"). I suppose that marks a good adaptation, ultimately, as it recreates the enjoyment I had of the film (since I saw the film first, and most recently about 4 years ago when my wife got me the trilogy for Christmas). I don't know what it would do for you if you didn't see the film, but it's a good enough romp.

Assuming, of course, you had seen the first film or read the first book. The middle part of a trilogy is hard to enjoy on its own.

Unfortunately, I don't think I have the third novelization of the movie (although I do have the trilogy of movies, which this book encourages me to watch). And I want it..

Oh, you want the plot? Marty goes to the future, saves his kid from a mistake, and then finds a mistake of his own in that future has altered the present, so he has to go back to the past again to save today and tomorrow. His, anyway. Ultimately, he ends up stuck in the past until he gets a message from further in the past and has to turn to Doc Brown of the past to help him into the past. Even spilling the plot makes me want to get the third book from Ebay or something.

So I'm a fan, and I have a pre-vote-for-your-paycheck-going-to-embryonic-stem-cell-research era poster of Michael J. Fox on my wall, okay?

Books mentioned in this review:

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."