Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Hunger Games

I haven't read these books, but with all the hype I had to check out the movie. I also wanted to see where on the spectrum of teen-oriented blockbusters it fell. Was it at the terrible end, down there with the Twilight movies? Or, was it at the high end, hanging out with the Harry Potters?

I'm happy to report that I'm glad I went to The Hunger Games. I enjoyed it, and I can see its appeal for the YA audience. The main story--plucky teens fighting to the death--has a sort of unpleasant but undeniable built-in appeal, and the actors and script delivered reasonably well on the device. The corrupt society that stages these games was clearly corrupt, with the director and writer missing no opportunity to show you that most of these folks in the Capitol are decadent and bad. I learned, for example, that in the future all rich people will have really long fake eyelashes. Good to know.

Aside from those overly broad brush strokes, the film did a fine job of making you care about the youthful leads and of keeping you moving fast enough that you were willing to suspend your disbelief about the basic concept.

I definitely recommend seeing it.

As for its place on the YA blockbuster continuum, it's in the upper third but not the top. It towers over the dreadful Twilight movies, but it falls well short of the Potter flicks. The key reason is probably that, as my wise daughter observed, almost everyone wants to live in Harry Potter's world, even to be Harry or one of the other kids at Hogwarts, while almost no one wants to be Katniss Everdeen. We want to root for her, and we do, but few of us want to be sent into a fight to the death with a bunch of other kids. (Kyle, you may be a notable exception. Get over it.)

So, see the film, expect to have a good time, but if you're not already a huge Hunger Games fan, don't expect to come away completely in love with it.

Friday, March 30, 2012

How much do I want to see this movie?

An entirely unreasonable amount.

The title, the star--Danny Trejo--and co-stars Charles S. Dutton and Ron Perlman make it a must-see. Then there's the epic beard.

Seriously, how could I resist it?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A bunch of moods in Beatles-speak

Running through my head, here in sound and video from the Beatles.

Ah, the glorious life of the mid-list writer.

No taking the easy way out for me, though.

How it works for Jon in my books.


Back to work.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Facebook hates my name

A lot of people have been bugging me to get on Facebook, and for a long time I've ignored them. In a moment of weakness the other night, however, I decided to sign up. I went to the Facebook home page, clicked the option to join, filled in its form, and with resentment at having to give my birthday, I pressed the final button.

Facebook rejected me. It claimed my last name

Van Name
was not legal.

At this point, I could have cheated. Others in my family have. We're familiar with this problem. You just change the last name to
and then you're good to go.

I, however, refuse to do that. If I'm going to be on a site that insists in accurate personal data, I refuse to compromise on my name. Surely a site with hundreds of millions of users must have thousands of last names with spaces in them; keeping my real last name must be possible.

Sure enough, after reading various help pages, I found a potential answer: I could upload to them a picture or scan of my government-approved ID (driver's license or passport), and then once they verified my name, they would contact me. Never mind the data available on my Web site, or my blog, or the books in stores, or the information retrievable via Google, or my Wikipedia entry; no, none of that is good enough for Facebook. I have to give them my freaking driver's license.

At that point, I gave up. To appease those who want me on Facebook, I may one day soon capitulate to this stupid demand, but not right now. Right now, I want to tell the Facebook programmers to learn to take multi-word last names.

Really, I want to say other things to them, but I'm trying to be nice.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jon & Lobo audiobooks are here!

I mentioned in an earlier post that the fine folks at would be bringing the Jon & Lobo books to audio. Well, they have. You can get all of the first four books here.

I have not heard them, nor did I have any hand in their making, but I am quite excited to give them a listen.

The same person, Tom Stechschulte, narrates all of them. I do not know his work, but he has narrated many audiobooks, including James Ellroy's The Black Dahlia, Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island, Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men and The Road, and Rick Riordan's Big Red Tequila. I'm honored to have my books in that company.

If you check out any of these, please let me know what you think. I'll do the same.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I wish it were this simple

It's not, really, not for most of us. Sometimes, though, I think it should be.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Papa Mojo's Roadhouse

How did I not know about this place? It's not like Papa Mojo's Roadhouse is new; it's clearly been around for a while. It's also not like I pay no attention to restaurants; I'm usually on top of the Triangle food scene. For whatever reason, though, I've missed this little strip-mall-based establishment--until today.

After watching the excellent first season of Treme, I've been hankering for New Orleans and its food. Mel Melton, the founder of Papa Mojo's, provides a little of both with live music much of the time, including this afternoon, and an assortment of tasty food.

The beignets, for example, were perfect, hot and sugar-covered and absolutely delicious. The andouille sausage I sampled had just the right amount of bite.

The Web site for Papa Mojo's boasts this quote from Melton:

"When people leave one of our shows or my restaurant, I want them to feel like they've been down in the swamp at a big party and they've had a great time. That's what it's all about."
I need to return for both lunch and dinner, and you can bet I will, but based on just this quick brunch visit, Melton nailed it. Papa Mojo's deserves your attention.


Blog Archive