Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Return and Demise of Samael

Two years ago, the Starbucks nearest to my house hosted a demon on their drive-through shelf.

As most bad pennies do, he turned up again on Wednesday last week after a snowstorm. I mean, sheesh...evil soul-swallowing snow monsters and their regeneration, right? How exhausting.

The Desolate One, Thwarted
Sadly, Samael (The Desolate One) was no match for the mighty powers of uneven melting and physics. Thus he's likely joined his first incarnation's demise. Until next year...

The poor Barista (is a male barista a baristo?) tried three times to stand the little dude back up on his melty not-feet, but alas Samael was just too tired. 

Nope, there really is no point to this post. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

But, What Kind of Person Deflowers COCONUTS?

You know, people REALLY overuse the term virgin.

Today, I got spam advertising 100% Organic Virgin Coconut Oil.


Let's ignore the fact that I can't really imagine how someone grows inorganic coconuts, since coconuts are plant life and therefore BY DEFINITION they are organic. Ok, so you want to argue "organic" in this case means grown without pesticides or whateverthefuck person-type interference? Fine, but have you ever actually opened a coconut? Yeah...hard to contaminate coconut water (and in fact, the difference between "organic" and "non-organic" is nil, per the NCBI). The term "organic" when it comes to this is purely a marketing ploy...falling for it is stupid.

But really...Virgin needs to STOP being used for food.

Because all I can think is...what sort of sick douche-nozzle fucks coconuts?

Hopefully not this guy.

That's right. I went there. You're welcome.

*Dear YouTube - thank Google for letting me find this clip of my personal favorite version.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Moral of the Story: Never Enter A Battle Of Wits with a Welsh Grandma?

Not all myths are heroic journeys or great love stories. Sometimes, a simple scene houses a battle of wits. And sometimes, the small battles have long consequences. I found this while looking up a town in Wales because of a Netflix show. I do adore wise woman tales.

A thousand years ago, the Devil decided to visit Wales, because in all his time on Earth and in Hell he'd never visited that corner of the world. Rumor had it, the country was beautiful, and the Devil was intrigued. 

So he wandered the green countryside and found he agreed with all he'd heard about the gorgeous land, and thought he might stay a while. He came upon an old woman standing on the edge of a river, hunched and dejected. 

"Why, madam, what vexes you so," the Devil asked. 

"My cow," she said, pointing at the animal calmly grazing on the other side of the water. "She got away and managed to get across the river, and I have no idea how to get her back." The Devil, never one to allow such an opportunity pass by, presented his most charming and polite smile. 

"Why, I can help you get her back," he said. "I'll make you a deal. I'll build a bridge tonight so you can get her back in the barn before milking time in the morning. You go home and rest." He held out his hands in offering. 

"Oh, you'll just build a whole bridge overnight, then? Are you a wizard, sir?" 

The Devil laughed and bowed. 

"And what boon will you ask in payment for such an amazing feat," the old woman asked, for she was no fool. 

"I'll take the first living thing to cross the bridge in payment," the Devil replied with a smile. The old woman was convinced now that the man was full of bluster and lies, so she agreed and walked slowly home for the evening, still thinking of ways to get her cow back. 

The next morning, she dressed for the cool Welsh bluster and considered what might happen if the magician HAD built a bridge. So, for caution's sake, she took bread from the table and called her dog to walk with her to the river. 

And there the Devil stood, shiny and bright next to a brand new sturdy bridge spanning the water. On the other side stood her cow, quietly eating as though bridges just appeared overnight regularly in her world. The Devil didn't say anything, just gestured to the river with an open hand, inviting the old woman to cross. Instead, she threw the loaf of bread with all her strength. 

And her faithful dog ran after it, becoming the first living creature to cross the bridge. The Devil gnashed his teeth and screamed, "NOOOOO! I don't want your smelly, hairy farm dog's soul!" and disappeared. 

The old woman gathered her cow and dog, and went home. 

The Devil never appeared in Wales again, too embarrassed to show his face after being outwitted by an old lady. 

But high in the mountains near Aberystwyth, a bridge with three levels crosses the gorge over the river. The bottom bridge is said to have been built by the Devil himself, over Devil's Falls

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Must-Read-Review of "The Confessions: An Original Sinners Collection" (No spoilers here, promise)

So if you've stopped here in my little corner of crazy more than once, you already know I'm a huge fan of Tiffany Reisz's work. I reviewed her Original Sinners series last fall after finishing The Queen, and it's possible I crossed fingers, toes, eyes, and legs (which seems a little wrong considering the subject matter) when I requested an early copy of The Confessions to review.

Undoubtedly it was the legs that did it.

The Confessions: An Original Sinners Collection isn't available until Tuesdayso this review will contain no spoilers (because spoilers are equivalent dipping your balls in the chocolate fountain: it sullies the experience for everyone else). However, I will say up front that this book is not for newcomers to the Original Sinners. It's worth the journey to get here, so go forth and read all eight, starting with The Siren, BEFORE reading this.

The Confessions is a collection of two novellas which provide more detailed insight into the psyches and souls of both Nora and Søren (hence the requirement that you read the series first). Unlike the other short peripheral tales in the Original Sinners world, neither "The Confession of Marcus Stearns" nor "The Confession of Eleanor Schreiber" is sexual, however both are intensely intimate. Both are intricately woven scenes that expertly reveal secrets on both sides of the confessional (although in neither case do the conversations take place IN the confessional).

To me real star of this collection is Father Ballard. I'd love to have a drink and chat with the confessor to both of the most notorious characters in the series, even knowing he couldn't divulge anything. True to form, Reisz's Father Ballard is a fabulously complex character. Instead of a cardboard cutout for Nora and Marcus to use as a mirror, Father Ballard is a man with his own past and present concerns which color his reactions and give him incredible depth. He's funny and compassionate, insightful and perhaps most importantly, HUMAN. He is exactly the sort of Priest I'd want to talk to if I were Catholic, which appears to have worked for both Nora and Father Stearns as well. Good lord, imagine the kind of man who could hear  all of THEIR secrets and stay sane.

The fourth character in both novellas is, of course, the Church. As with all the Original Sinners episodes, Reisz combines humor, violence, shock, and compassion in new and interesting ways while exploring the "right" and "wrong" of love. The mix of obvious deep respect and blatant irreverence, often exhibited in the same person, is a wonderfully complex portrayal of the difference between the shallow, socially accepted "correct" love and the messy, inconvenient, difficult struggle contained in actual love.

Reisz packs a lot into two short novellas about the internal lives of her characters, and she does it so smoothly the reader is left wanting more, as any good Mistress is wont to do. My first thought after reading "The Confession of Eleanor Schreiber" was "oh man, I wonder what Father Ballard would do with Kingsley." Someday, I sincerely hope that question will cross the author's mind as well, because that would be a show requiring a comfortable seat and a large bucket of popcorn.

Luckily, we are given some insight into the author's take on the characters and their worlds in the final piece in the collection: "The Confession of Tiffany Reisz". I'll admit I normally don't dig interview pieces with authors, for the same reason I often don't watch the "behind the scenes" DVD extras in a movie I love. I don't usually want to think deeply about the secrets of the woman behind the curtain while immersing myself in the work itself. But in this case, the interview is well worth it: funny and interesting, Tiffany's responses only add to the story.

The Confessions: An Original Sinners Collection is available on March 15th, 2016 in eBook and Paperback. If you're a fan of The Original Sinners, I highly recommend picking this one up as soon as it's out, since I read it three times in the first two days and stayed up until the unholy "there is not enough espresso in the world tomorrow morning" hours to finish it the first night. I love to sleep: any book that keeps me awake at 2am to finish it is well worth the read.

The Confessions: An Original Sinners Collection
by Tiffany Reisz
ISBN 978-0-69-264377-8
8th Circle Press
Available on eBook and Paperback 3/15/16