Tag Archive: Nine Princes In Amber

No, I’m not talking to you.

Hello poor neglected blog.  Yes, I have missed you.  Yes, I heard you singing “Telephone Line” while I was sleeping the last few nights, and yes I’ve felt you staring at the back of my head for weeks now.  I wasn’t ignoring you, I swear.  I’ve just been busy, you know how it goes.  There’s been a lot I’ve wanted to talk about, but time gets away from me and I forget.  And then I take up new projects, and I’ve just been so tired.  Even now after a breakfast energy drink and a large cup of Gyokuro Kin I’m still finding it hard to keep my eyes open.  But, as you can see, I’m here anyways. 

The skin is peeling off of my left index finger.  I don’t know what’s up with that.

I meant to tell you about our canoe trip last weekend.  Basically, it was great.  We packed up a little earlier than planned and took the scenic route from Austin down to Spring Branch, by way of Driftwood to Wimberly to Fisher to Canyon Lake and down.  Scenic it was, no doubt, and curvy as hell.  We didn’t get above 50 too often, but got a peek at Damien Mandola’s winery, a lot of goats, and quite a few biker bars.  Since we made it to Spring Branch about 90 minutes ahead of schedule, we stopped at a saloon for lunch (with a good 100 or so bikers and other passers-by).  The food was good, aka fried and delicious, the open patio was air-conditioned by way of gigantic fans, and they had decent iced tea for a bar.  I’d go back, and if I could remember the name of the place I’d tell you to go too.  I’ll get back to you.
Anywho, after lunch we met up with 95 other folks from the Alamo Drafthouse for our group canoeing down the Guadalupe River.  After waiting about an hour or so for everything to get settled, we loaded onto short busses and white vans and headed upstream.  Once on the water, Mick and I proceeded to suck it up as canoers.  To be fair, I was doing most of the sucking while Mick tried to correct for my ineptness and yelled “no! switch! right! now left! no, not like that! paddle, dammit!”  We almost ran into a tree once.  About halfway down the river, though, we started to get the hang of things, which led to us only getting stuck on a rock once.  By the end, we were feeling good, navigating the blobs of tubers quite effectively, and even managed to cruise the rougher parts with relative confidence.  And we managed to be the first ones back to the camp.  Which meant we got to pick a good spot to plop ourselves down and wait for the movie to start.  Did I mention there was a movie?  Of course there was, it was a Drafthouse event.  And what better to movie to watch after canoeing than Deliverance!  Of course it was fabulous, I hadn’t seen it for many years so it was refreshing to enjoy it again.  There was also bbq provided (A WHOLE SMOKED PIG!), which was absolutely delicious.  And everything managed to wrap up before 11, so the non-scenic drive home was quick and painless and I was asleep before 1am.  In short, I will probably not be purchasing a canoe in the near future, but I wouldn’t be opposed to going again.  I have a couple pictures that I’ll happily post for you tomorrow. 

The ensuing week after the trip has been relatively uneventful.  Sunday night we did go see the new Rush documentary, Beyond the Lighted Stage.  Did I mention I have been recently completely obsessed and emotionally obliterated by Rush?  I don’t think I’ve listened to anything else for at least two weeks now.  Maybe my soul is trying to make up for the 24 years I never listened to Rush, shunned them even.  What the hell was I thinking???  I wasn’t, that’s the problem.  I was letting someone else think for me.  Well screw that!  I’ve got every album (except the live ones) on my ipod and have been rotating through the catalog about once a day.  Occasionally I’ll stop and live in a song for a little while; this morning it was Time Stand Still, for a good reason (**see below), and I listened to it four times on the way to work and once when I got here.  It took me at least two of those to try and forget the strange and slightly silly video.  But even for a non-obsessed superfan, the documentary is well-done and enjoyable.  Mick wrote a great review on CyberMonkeyDeathSquad, which you should read.  And then pick up the doc when it comes out on dvd/blu-ray June 29th. 

**I think part of my current obsession with Rush might be linked to the books I’m reading.  I finally picked up The Chronicles of Amber, which was recommended to me first by my old buddy/book guru/life-saver Chas, and then later by Mick who owns pretty much the whole series and some other stuff too.  I read the first book, Nine Princes In Amber, in a matter of days and was immediately completely and totally in love.  I wrote a review for the website, then moved on to the second book.  Guns of Avalon was almost as impressive, though absolutely captivating in places, and it got a review too.  I’m now in the beginning of the third book, Sign of the Unicorn, and am loving it just as much as the rest.  There’s already been some interesting revelations, a good bit of family drama, some awesome dark and scary bits, and I left off last night at the end of a chapter right when the protagonist gets stabbed by a mysterious intruder.  And, as mentioned above, that was the reason for my Time Stand Still fascination upon waking this morning, as the climax of the last chapter deals with the slowing of time and heightened consciousness and the like.  Beyond that, it seems that Rush and Amber just go really well together.  There’s elements of fantasy blended with a healthy dose of reality, a little warfare, a dash of sexy, and all of it makes my soul very very happy.  One is constantly reminding me of the other, and when I’m separated from both I think back to them regularly.  A more professional person might say that this is unhealthy.  I won’t tell them they’re wrong, but I won’t care much either.    

Well blog, that’s where I’ll leave you for today.  Only a few other things have happened lately, none of which can’t wait until tomorrow.  I’ll see you then.

Collecting my thoughts.

I’m having one of those days.  One of those days where I feel like I need to write about something, I actually really want to write about something, but the idea of undertaking the writing completely overwhelms me.  So rather than doing a proper write-up, like something I might put on the website, I will now use this space to gather my thoughts in hopes of unburying myself from this mental avalanche. 

Yesterday, the world lost an icon.  I’ll go so far as to say we were robbed.  I’m sure most of you already know this, and while it pains me to repeat it, we must come to terms with the fact that Ronnie James Dio is gone.  I thought flipping on the iPod and rocking out this morning would be appropriate, and it is, but it makes me rather melancholy.  I’m not one to get upset over death, especially of someone I don’t know personally, and I guess there’s a hundred reasons why this particular loss affects me so.  Maybe because his music played such a big part in shaping me into the person I am today.  Maybe it was the unexpected nature of it.  I guess the reasons aren’t as important as the fact that this person touched my life and countless others, and he will be sorely missed.  I like to think that he ran into Frank Frazetta on the way up to the clouds, and the two of them are riding saber-tooth tigers through the sky and weilding battle axes and are ready to kick the shit out of the afterlife.  And any time someone throws metal, we’ll think of Dio.

But enough sadness.  For about a week I’ve been wanting to write about the book I just finished.  It’s the first in a series of five, and now that I’ve moved on to the second book, I figure I should write about the first before it falls too far out of mind.  The series: The Chronicles of Amber, by Roger Zelazny.  Book one, Nine Princes In Amber, is IMHO effing brilliant.  I don’t think I’ll ruin it by giving you the premise, so here it is: a guy wakes up from a coma after a car accident with no memory, but a really bad feeling that his crash was no accident and that some nasty shit is going down.  He then must piece together bits of his identity and determine not only who he is, but who is out to get him, why, and what the hell he is gonna do about it.  Since this isn’t an official review I’ll try to be brief, but here’s a few tidbits I think are great:

1. The main character: Corwin, our “hero”, may not have an identity but he has a hell of a personality.  Even in doubt he manages to come across as very sure of himself, and his luck is astounding yet completely believable.  Some of the initial exchanges he has with his sister are priceless.  And for being a hero and a prince (oops, spoiler. kinda.), he’s incredibly relatable, completely endearing, and impeccably normal somehow.  Which ties into…

2. The tone: written from a firsthand perspective, every word we read is Corwin’s.  Part of the beauty of the way that it’s written is in his language.  He starts off very casual, very normal (for lack of a better word), and as he learns more about himself we see him leaning more and more toward formal speech, regal speech.  But the brilliance is in the way that Zelazny weaves the two together, and it really sets Corwin apart from the rest of the characters who wholly enhabit the world of Amber.  It serves as a constant reminder that he is not like them, that he is different.  And in the end, it’s that little bit of difference that gives him the edge against all others. 

Ok, that wasn’t even as brief as I wanted to be, and since I plan to expand on these for a full-fledged CMDS article, I’ll save the rest for that.  Consider this a teaser.  BWAHAHA.  And here’s the cheesiest book cover I could find:  


So I’ll leave you with that for the moment, as I feel this review is going to take a while.  Ahhh, book reviews.  Feels like I’m in college again.  As long as this doesn’t turn into a 15-page paper on the use of language as identity (and it might!), we should be alright. 

Be excellent to each other, little ones.  Love you, mean it.

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