Amelia Cole Merchendise – Lemmy Head Pins

In order to celebrate the Feb 20th release of Amelia Cole issue 6 we decided to make a very short run of our first Amelia Cole merchandise. So, working with Jennifer Cunningham of Jen Hearts Art the Lemmy Head Pin (2″) was created.

When I say “working with” I mean Jennifer was told what we thought would be awesome and then she made it even cooler than it was conceived.

The pin is hand-crafted and painted, so each is slightly different. They are two inches in diameter and use a butterfly clutch pin for extra strength. Here are pictures of the pin:


Look, a pin!

And now for scale – a shiny quarter!

Want one? Act fast

* There are only 12 for sale.

* They cost $15 US (incl. shipping).

* They will arrive in a box way too big for the pin. Don’t ask. They’re the shipping boxes I have.

* Payment will be done via PayPal, yo.

* One per person.

So there ya go. 12 pins. $15 bucks a pop. Payment via PayPal. All pins will ship by (or before) 2/9.

Oh, right, you need a PayPal button. Click it!





Thirty emails.

Well it’s Monday. Just like that. No getting around it. It’s November 30th, people I know have put up Xmas trees and we’re in the slide to the end of the year. Just like that. Soon people will put up endless lists, best of the year, best of the decade type stuff, and so on. What were the songs you loved most, the TV moments that you loved best the movies, books, orgasms, toes, viruses, scented wax candles and pastries that you remember the most fond over the last decade.

Of course we’ll also have the flurry of posts about how this was a bad year and thank god it’s over and next year will be better. There are always far too many of those, I think. And I never do check, but I always mean to – how many of the people posting those posts do you think posted them in the last five years? Ever wonder about that? How many people have generally fine years but remember them badly, all the time, and just declare them all spoiled? I bet it isn’t a very small number. But regardless, those posts will happen.

It’s like the turning of the leaves. There are seasons to the internet and they have their signs. You know winter is truly here once NaNoWriMo and its 50,000 spin-offs start. Fall arrives with the posts of going back to school, either by students or parents. We’re creatures of habit and our environment both, these are the things that force us to think and we voice those thoughts. We turn our lives into a clock.

I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. I’m certain, however, that it doesn’t matter if it is one or the other. Reality would suggest it’s neither. It’s what we make of it. And as we all turn our thoughts to looking back over the last year, and casting further, the last ten years let us remember that: It’s what we make of it.

Horrible, horrible things happened in the last decade. As well as magical, wonderful things. And what would life be without both those things? I don’t care about the horrible, anymore. The larger stuff we all know and have hashed out for years already. I’m not saying it doesn’t matter, some of it will always matter, I’m just saying we have already named it and given it our power. So let’s not give it more just this morning.

Instead I want to think about the good things. The inspired things that leave me in awe.

I met S.J. Tucker in the ’00s. I never see her, haven’t in many moons, we don’t talk, which is partly because she’s so busy it makes me look like the laziest bitch on the planet and then some, and partly because we don’t travel in the same circles really – but I still think of her almost every day. Her songs come up on my playlists, or stray thoughts or what have you. Her and K. It’s incredible to remember a time when a mutual friend said “You need to hear this woman sing and then invite her to a convention.” Boy was he right. I like to think I have helped her some, introduced her to a few folks, assisted her in shining her light, just the tiniest bit but that’s not really true. I, at best, helped hold open a door the tiniest bit – she was already stepping through it regardless of me. She is, now and for the foreseeable future, unironically, my rockstar.

I started writing professionally this decade, as well. Sometimes I forget that. TwoHeadedCat started in 2001, I sold my first short story not long after, worked for Too Much Coffee Magazine, where I met D.J. Kirkbride, all of this crazy writing goodness I deal with now – it’s about ten years old. Sure I prepared for it for most of my life before that, but it’s still new, really. I mean I can look at the chains from A to G on that and still see so many steps before Z it’s stunning. And inspiring and joyous.

I’ve met so very many people in the last ten years. So many who are dear to my heart. Some have since vanished from my life or circle, and some haven’t. Either way I cherish the time I had and will have with them, each and every one. People rule. I know I always say I don’t like people, and I mean it. I don’t. But I love people, too. A few folks understand that, and they nod when they read this. Some don’t and, well, that’s all right too.

Just this last year I started Legend of the Burrito Blade, my first webcomic. I met Renato and Lauren and we formed a team and friendships that have led to so many other things.

No this sort of list is endless and has too many names on it, too many events. Each one is amazing and special and wondrous. Not because my life is so ultra-magi-unicorn-special (though it is) but because I am willing to acknowledge all of the awesome it contains. Ten years is a long time. One year is a long time. Every year of my life I think “That last year had so many awesome things in it, surely I can’t cram more into another year!” and yet the number of them keeps going up. I really only say it to myself now while grinning. I know. I know how lucky I am, how hard I work and how amazing my friends and close ones are.

So here’s what I’m going to do about it, and what I am going to encourage you guys to do about it as well. This holiday season, whatever you celebrate, is a rough one for a lot of us in terms of money and stress. Instead of gifts I propose this:

Take the time to write the people closest to you. Send them an email, or a letter in the mail. Tell them how much they mean to you, and why. Share some history. Remind them of why they’re so close to your heart. Maybe they don’t know, maybe they do, either way a reminder is a magical thing. Thirty of them. Probably just scratching the surface for most of us. One email a day for the whole month. That’s it. Think of how much awesome and wonder we could spread. Between ourselves, our close ones and their close ones. Spread the idea, spread the joy. Thirty emails. That’s it. Think of the effect it can have on the people you love, and frankly, on yourself.

Thirty emails. We can all do it. Join me.

History is Funny.

I love a good t-shirt. No, strike that. I adore a good t-shirt. Recently a friend of mine opened up an online t-shirt store. I kinda groaned. I mean I love my friends and I wanna promote them but what if the shirts sucked? I mean that would be horrible, because I’d wanna say something but I couldn’t and then I wouldn’t wanna promote the store but I would wanna help and…

Luckily these shirts are so grand I want to buy each one and probably will over a period of time. History is Funny is the name of the store. To give you an idea of the shirts:

Dear lord I love these shirts.

Holiday Gift Guide – day nine – Top Ten – final

All right! It’s been a long fun road with Top Tens and now it comes to an end. With my list. Yup. My list.

BOOKS

Dhalgren – Delany’s amazing novel is one of those books that continues to live in your head for the rest of your life.

The Illuminatus! – Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson started something major here. This is the sort of work that has, over the years, invaded the culture to such a degree that if you never read the book you still reference it. So why not just read it.

Lonesome Dove – I love a good western. I mean, westerns are just kick-ass. This is the best western I know, in book form. I haven’t enjoyed any adaptation of it, but the book is amazing.

The Mike Hammer Collection Volume 1 – Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer is the font from which all hard boiled detectives grow. He could do more in short paragraph than many authors can manage in five pages. Tight as hell, his prose worked like a boxing match.

Raymond Chandler: Stories and Early Novels – On the other side of the noir spectrum you have Raymond Chandler. Also a master, his style boils down to a crisp jazz solo. Between Chandler and Spillane you have the building blocks for 90% of all modern noir.

Lord of Light – Zelazny’s greatest book (and a 1,000 Amber fans just screamed) but it’s true! Sorry guys. This is the one to wave in people’s faces and scream about.

The Princess Bride – William Goldman may be the greatest living screenwriter right now, and he is, but the novel that gave rise to his amazing screenplay and stunning movie of the same name is, frankly, better than the movie. Which is why the book is here and the movie is not below. For reals.

More Than Human – My personal favorite Sturgeon work. Sturgeon was one of the all time best writers around. Period. This book is still new and fresh.

Letters from the Earth – I knew there would be Twain on this list but which? That kept me up nights. I finally settled on this, a collection of essays and looks at man and faith from the point of view of Satan.

Classic Feynman: All the Adventures of a Curious Character – If you like science you need to read this book. If you don’t like science you need to read this book. If you are alive today you should probably read this book. If you’re dead – consider picking up a copy.

MOVIES

Leon – The Professional – Leon is, for my money, Besson’s best work. The movie works on every level it attempts. Stunning.

Ghostbusters – Ray, if someone asks you if you’re on their top ten list, you say YES.

Josie and the Pussycats – This might be the most sarcastic movie ever made. Also highly quotable. And funny.

Hudson Hawk – Yes I still adore this highly funny film. I always will. You can disparage it if you like, but you’re wrong.

Shaun of the Dead – Not only was it hysterical but this is also one of the tightest scripts I have ever seen.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – Possibly the greatest script ever filmed, Butch and Sundance just works. It works and you fall in love with it. Also Hill directed this in ways you can’t do anymore.

Brick – Modern noir done interestingly. This movie shouldn’t have worked half as well as it did. But it blew me away when I first saw it and still does, every time I watch it.

The Complete Thin Man Collection – If you’ve never seen any of these you desperately should. The start of the great comedic detective pairings, what we think of now as buddy movies starts here. With one of the best takes on it ever.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead – The only thing in the world to have changed Shakespeare forever. It’s the sort of film that you watch and then sit back and realize what you just saw. And then you kinda wanna watch it again right away.

Fight Club – It has flaws, but this is the perfect example of the sum being more than the parts. You can find problems, tiny ones, here and there. But all together the movie works across the board.

You can also go buy books with me in them: Bad-Ass Faeries (for some fairy fun, I have a very odd and insane story in it) and The Dead Walk Again! (in which I write a zombie western). You can also go to the Die Monster die! Store and buy the Strange Angel series (which is on sale. Actually you can buy Dead Walk Again there, too, also on sale.)

Holiday Gift Guide – day eight

Atomic Wave sunglasses. Be the cool kid on your block. Kill epileptics! Rule the world! For only $19.95 if you act right now. They come in green and blue.

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Inflatible gigantic hands for only 20 bucks even. They’re huge and have velcro so you can pin the fingers down. Which means two giant instances of the shocker, if you want it bad enough.

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A flux capacitor. Over 16 inches tall by about a foot wide, it runs on batteries and each one is a numbered limited replica. On sale for $220, for now.

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Here’s a strange one for you. The contura ring. You submit a photo and they make the ring so that it matches the profile of the picture you supply. I kinda like it. I kinda do. At $624 each I don’t like it THAT much, but I still do like it.

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Virtual bubblewrap keychain. It has little buttons. They feel like bubblewrap. They sound like it, too. I dunno, I don’t think it would replace real bubblewrap for me, but it is tempting. Very. Ten bucks.

Holiday Gift Guide – day eight – Top Ten

So the new Holiday Guide presents a special new feature! Best Of. That’s right. I got some folks together and asked them to contribute a list of their top ten movies and top ten books. Along with an intro and some pimping of their stuff when I can, we’ll be doing one a day when I have one. I had nothing to do with these lists except soliciting them. The descriptions are the authors’ as are the picks. Remember, I do not write these. The people listed to.

Robyn has opinions. You will listen to them. Or else.

If you don’t have anyone on your list who likes any of this stuff, you should shun everyone you know. The world would be shinier and less stupid if everyone owned these twenty items.

Digital Versatile Discs: We’re mostly going for sets or box sets here.

(1) Chappelle’s Show – The Series CollectionThe Boondocks is filling the void somewhat, but damn, do we need him back. If you don’t have these individually, here’s the whole shebang, including the kinda-sorta Season 3 that I didn’t care for all that much.

(2) The Ed Wood Box – The master at his best: Glen or Glenda, Jail Bait, Bride of the Monster, Night of the Ghouls, and the immortal Plan 9 from Outer Space. Plus a documentary about Eddie. It’s preferable to thePassport compilation because these discs have extras, including a documentary about Plan 9 that’s longer than the film itself….though the Passport box does include the hilarious Wood-written The Violent Years, which I highly recommend.

(3) Excel Saga – Complete Collection – Fucking insane and hilarious anime. A little dog named Menchi sings the closing-credits song: ‘If you’re going to eat me, please do it quickly/So that my flesh won’t become too tough.’ Yeah. Also recommended: Colorful, an anime all about dorky guys drooling over women’s panties.

(4) The Coen Brothers Collection – Five of the boys’ greatest early flicks. Excluding The Hudsucker Proxy (which Fox owns, and which I love), it’s basically their first ten years in the game.

(5) St. Elsewhere – Season 1 – The greatest series that has ever appeared on network television. If you disagree, YOU’RE WRONG.

(6) If…, O Lucky Man!, and Britannia Hospital – The Mick Travis trilogy, finally all available on DVD, directed by Lindsay Anderson and starring Malcolm McDowell. If you only know Malcolm from Clockwork Orange, Star Trek Generations, and the Halloween remake, you have some very pleasurable homework here. Or, um, the McDowell fan on your list.

(7) The Films of Alejandro JodorowskyFucked-up shit, yo. The cult classics El Topo and The Holy Mountain, plus
Jodorowsky’s early effort Fando y Lis, only available in this set.

(8) Martin Scorsese Collection – There are two Scorsese boxes. This one from Warner Home Video has After Hours, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, GoodFellas, Mean Streets, and his debut Who’s That Knocking at My Door?, a sort of dry run for Mean Streets. Then there’s the MGM box The Martin Scorsese Film Collection, which offers Boxcar Bertha, The Last Waltz, Raging Bull, and New York, New York (which just came out in a new 30th anniversary edition). Either one is a fine Scorsese 101, a crash course in perhaps America’s greatest living director.

(9) Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition) – Well, yeah. The Murnkay has already pimped this out the wazoo. But if we’re talking DVD sets that make perfect gifts? It’d be completely special-needs not to mention this one.

(10) Apocalypse Now – The Complete Dossier and Hearts of Darkness – A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse – First watch two versions of Coppola’s one-of-a-kind Vietnam epic. Then watch what he went through to make it. There are worse ways to spend a cold winter Sunday.

Thick Paper Things with Words:

(1) Naked Lunch: The Restored Text by William Seward Burroughs II. Essential hallucinogenic reading. A must for any home library or nuclear bomb shelter.

(2) H. P. Lovecraft: Tales (Library of America) by Howard Phillips Lovecraft. The Library of America finally got around to giving a black-covered shout-out to Cthulhu Guy, with 22 stories handpicked by Peter Straub. If you want a good hardcover collection of HPL without having to pay through the urethra for an Arkham House edition, this is your best bet. Also recommended: Library of America’s equally surprising and welcome Philip K. Dick omnibus.

(3) Essential Howard The Duck by Steve Gerber and various artists. Yeah, the movie sucked. The comic was awesome. This compiles pretty much all the issues that matter, albeit in black and white. (There’s a hardcover color omnibus coming in March.)

(4) The Clothes Have No Emperor: A Chronicle of the American ’80s by Paul Slansky. If you’re a freak for all things ’80s, this breezy satirical book is a must-have. It focuses on the eight years under Reagan and all the political doofiness thereof, but also keeps an eye on pop culture through the years. Judd Nelson is dissed in a special sidebar.

(5) The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film by Michael J. Weldon. You can bet Quentin Tarantino read his copy until it fell apart. I did, too. You open it, you’re not likely to close it for a few hours.

(6) Danse Macabre by Stephen Edwin King. The Tall Man from Maine at his loosest. It’s basically him sitting across a table from you over beers (this was years before he needed to stop having beers) talking about horror fiction, horror movies, horror TV, and even horror radio. It stops in 1980, and I’ve always wished for a sequel so he could talk up the many major figures to emerge in the various horror media in the past 27 years.

(7) Roasting in Hell’s Kitchen: Temper Tantrums, F Words, and the Pursuit of Perfection by Gordon Ramsay. You enjoy the foulmouthed chef on Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares? This book sounds just like him, and it tells the inspirational story of a boy who grew up in chaos and near-poverty, decided to be a football star, got injured, decided to become a chef, kicked ass at it, and the rest is history.

(8) Owly by Andy Runton – The most inventive (and adorable) wordless comic book around. That link goes to the first volume, and there’s also Just a Little Blue, Flying Lessons, and A Time to Be Brave. If you have a young’un on your list and you want to get ’em hooked on comics, this is the perfect gateway drug. In no time they’ll be reading Transmetropolitan and snorting crystal meth off a photo of William Gibson.

(9) H2O by Howard Schatz. Famous for his underwater portraits. Absolutely stunning stuff.

(10) Can’t Get NoCan’t Get No by Rick Veitch. This guy has never stopped evolving as a comics writer/artist throughout his decades working in the medium, and this book is his oddest and most moving experiment yet.

Robyn would also like you to go buy First Person Feminist: Video Games and the Future. So go buy it! She says to. Duh?

HOliday Gift Guide – day seven – Top Ten

So the new Holiday Guide presents a special new feature! Best Of. That’s right. I got some folks together and asked them to contribute a list of their top ten movies and top ten books. Along with an intro and some pimping of their stuff when I can, we’ll be doing one a day when I have one. I had nothing to do with these lists except soliciting them. The descriptions are the authors’ as are the picks. Remember, I do not write these. The people listed to.

D.J. Kirkbride is a mover, a shaker, dancer, a romancer.

1. Superman – I was born a year before this came out, but I don’t really have any memories before seeing it. Christopher Reeve IS Superman to me. This movie, while flawed (mainly in it’s portrayal of Lex Luthor by the still great Gene Hackman) and dated (though I dig that 70s look), is amazing. It holds up.

2. Citizen Kane – Often movies are described as “classic,” and one feels obligated to like them. No sense of obligation necessary with Kane. This film is ridiculously dark yet fun. It moves a a fast pace and is very innovative. Almost as interesting is how it was made. The DVD out has a documentary about the making of the movie that’s almost as interesting as the movie itself.

3. Airplane! – Funniest movie EVER. Seriously. This movie had enough jokes to make the lil’ kid version of me laugh while a whole other half of it went over my head. To this day, I still quote it and laugh at it.

4. Harold and Maude – Maybe the most messed up love story to be captured on film. 18-year-old (I think he’s 18 in this…) Harold is obsessed with death. Soon to be 80-year-old Maude is obsessed with life… on her own terms. This movie makes me laugh and breaks my heart at the same time. It might be perfect.

5. Grosse Pointe Blank – John Cusack is a hitman, but what a person does for a living shouldn’t define what he is. When he gets an invite for his 10 year high school anniversary, he can’t help but check in on the “one that got away” — his high school sweet heart. Fast talking, genuine romance, great music, and some crazy violence result. This movie doesn’t have a boring second, and I really wish they’d made the sequel Cusack mentioned a while back. (Though they might’ve come close with War, Inc. — yet to be released.)

6. Shaun of the Dead – Zombies usually just gross me out and make me squeamish, but this romantic comedy that happens to have zombies has swayed me. If it were just about Shaun and his estranged girlfriend and his best friend, I’d be down. Throwing real brain eating zombies adds a whole ‘nother dimension. As funny as it is scary.

7. Clerks – This movie made me really want to make movies. Shot in grainy black and white, it’s so low budget that it sometimes just seems real. Great, insane dialog that initially earned it an NC-17 rating. I can’t believe I let my then 12-year-old sister watch it with me when I first rented it, but I wanted to watch it again before it was due back to the video store.

8. Magnolia – Crazy long, unruly, and chock full of frogs falling from the sky — Magnolia is a glorious mess of a movie. Never have I seen such unabashed melodrama so well done. An amazing cast and a messy story. It’s great. When I first saw it in the theatre, I ignored my near bursting bladder and had to relearn how to walk when it was over, but it was worth every minute.

9. Ghostbusters – For a years, I found this funny, but recently I’ve realized that this g-damn movie holds up like a champ. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson, Rick Moranis — all PERFECT. This movie doesn’t skimp on the ghosts and weirdness while also being completely hilarious.

10. The Royal Tenenbaums – Like most Wes Anderson movies, it took me a second viewing to fall in love with it, but daddy issues and quirks have never been more entertainingly displayed, for me anyway, than in this movie. I love it. It makes me laugh and breaks my heart. Amazing.

Top 10 Books – These are harder because my reading retention level has steadily gone down over the years. Seriously, I can’t quote passages of books or really even discuss them due to shit memory. It scares me. Anyway…

1. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – The first Michael Chabon book I read. Just a wonderful tale of the Golden Age of comics with all sorts of historical characters and a lot of heart. The character Kavalier & Clay created, The Escapist, is great in his own right and now has some fun comics out there.

2. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – As sad as it is funny, this autobiography of Eggers raising his little brother after both of their parents pass on too soon isn’t the downer it sounds like. It’s quirky, interesting, fun, and finds a lot of hope where I personally would’ve just sunk into despair.

3. Franny and Zooey – Two stories about sister and brother Franney and Zooey Glass. I am a big Salinger fan, and this one is my favorite. It’s all about character and emotional oddities and existential crisis of former child geniuses just trying to live their adult lives. If your a Wes Anderson fan, see where he got a lot of his inspiration.

4. The Hotel New Hampshire – I discovered John Irving in college and went through a major phase. I honestly am not sure why sometimes, but a lady in a bear suit, creepy hotels, and a brother who can’t help but be in love LOVE with his sister… it’s fucked up, but the story works. There’s a movie version with Jodie Foster and Rob Lowe that… well… just read the book.

5. Slaughterhouse-Five – A man named Billy Pilgrim gets “unstuck in time,” jumping to different points in his life — when he was a POW in WWII, with his family, and on another planet with a naked movie star being watched by aliens, to name a few. It’s insane and amazing. Not a dull moment. Author Kurt Vonnegut was a g-damn national treasure.

6. Another Roadside Attraction – Tom Robbins writes nutty, thought provoking, and humorous like a champ. This book features a roadside hot dog stand / flea circus run by a fortune teller and her new husband, lots of other stuff, and the bones of Jesus Christ.

7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy– The best way to read this is to just get one of those collections of all 5 books plus the short story in this trilogy (yes, a 5 book, 1 story trilogy). It starts at the end of the world and goes from there. Lots of Monty Python-esque humor and philosophical zaniness from the late, great Douglas Adams.

8. Naked – David Sedaris’s essays are almost always hilarious. His recollections from his life ring true (even if they’re not — I can’t know for sure). This is his second collection (I think), and it’s my favorite, but they’re all really fun.

9. People’s History of the United States – Forget what you learned in junior high history class — apparently it wasn’t all cherry trees and telling the truth. Historian Howard Zinn’s sprawling, sad, upsetting, and very interesting book is a must read for anyone remotely interested in how this big ol’ country came to be.

10. A Confederacy of Dunces – The lead character in this book, Ignatious J. Reilly, hates mordern pop culture and fancies himself better than the rednecks around him. But, the truth is, he’s pretty gross and mean to his mom. It’s also a hoot to read about him and get inside his creepy head. The story of how the book came to be published is an interesting tragedy. After author John Kennedy Toole, took his own life, his mother found the manuscript for Confederacy and demanded college professor William Percy read it. He was reluctant but ended up loving it and shepherding it’s publication after which it won numerous awards and became a classic.

You can also buy The Dead Walk Again! which features Kirkbride’s story ‘Married Alive’. You can also buy Popgun Vol. 1 which contains Kirkbride’s comic book hilarity in SOULLESS.

Holiday Gift Guide – day six – Top Ten

So the new Holiday Guide presents a special new feature! Best Of. That’s right. I got some folks together and asked them to contribute a list of their top ten movies and top ten books. Along with an intro and some pimping of their stuff when I can, we’ll be doing one a day when I have one. I had nothing to do with these lists except soliciting them. The descriptions are the authors’ as are the picks. Remember, I do not write these. The people listed to.

Meghan Knierim is a writer and all around cool ass mo-fo.

10. Gummo: : I saw this movie when it came out at the Angelika Theater in New York City. I remember leaving the theater scratching my head and not being able to figure out how I felt about it. After watching it again when it came out on DVD, I decided I really dug it. Yes, it’s disturbing and a little nonsensical, but I also saw the beauty in it. Then again, I find lots of disturbing things quite beautiful.

9. Night of the Comet: This one is a classic, cheesy sci-fi romp. If you haven’t seen it yet, shame on you! This has been one of my favorites since I was just a wee lass.

8. Twin Peaks – The Definitive Gold Box Edition (The Complete Series): One of my favorite series of all time. David Lynch delivers some seriously twisted shit and keeps the mysteries just out of your reach until the last possible moment. And who doesn’t love pie and damn good coffee?

7. Carnivale – The Complete First Two Seasons: This one deserved way more than the two seasons it got. But what little we were given is gold. Until Dexter came to be, Carnivale was my favorite series ever, hands down. Dexter might have replaced it, but that doesn’t take away the brilliance that is Carnivale. Clancy Brown kicks ass, as does the rest of the cast. And Nick Stahl is super hot!

6. Dexter – The First Season: My new favorite series of all time. Season one was full of serial killing goodness, the hotness that is Michael C. Hall, and just an incredibly twisted storyline that makes you bounce in your seat and squee with frustration and excitement. Season 2, which is not available yet, is certainly living up to the hype, as I think it’s even better than the first.

5. Bully: I did mention my ability to find beauty in the truly disturbing, right? More Nick Stahl goodness, this is one fucked up movie that is sure to kill your appetite for awhile. I wanted to take a shower immediately upon finishing it, but it’s bloody brilliant, and based on a true story, which is always awesome.

4. Amadeus: I’ve loved this movie since I was a kid. It gave me an appreciation for classical music that I have to this day… and was disturbing in it’s own way as well. Not all that historically accurate, but an amazing film nonetheless, with incredible performances from F. Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce.

3. Heathers: Not only is Christian Slater smoking hot in this one, I love how you can at once be repulsed and turned on. It’s hilarious, yet so very, very wrong. “My son’s a homosexual, and I love him. I love my dead gay son!” It’s a quoterrific movie that I think anyone who has ever been a teenager (um… so, yeah, everyone old enough to watch it) can relate to.

2. Phantasm: Good, old-fashioned, 70s horror goodness. The Tall Man is one of the most frightening monsters of all time, in my honest opinion. Every time Angus Scrimm is onscreen, I get goosebumps. Not to mention, Reggie Fucking Bannister!

1. Hellraiser: This film, without a doubt, is the most beautiful disturbing film I’ve ever seen. It scared the crap out of me as a kid and I’m still awestruck by it today. I really think Barker changed the horror genre as we knew it with this one. It has earned the rank
of holiest of holy in my DVD collection.

Top 10 Books

10. Lucky: A Memoir, by Alice Sebold Not an easy one to get through by any stretch of the imagination, but this true-life account of Sebold’s rape and the aftermath is as awe-inspiring as it is horrific. I will always be amazed by her strength, and her ability to weave her own sense of humor into the recounting of such a traumatic event.

9. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway I’ll admit that this is the only Hemingway I’ve ever read, and I only read it as part of a college class. But I poured through it. Another one of those beautiful, yet a touch disturbing, classics.

8. The Shining, by Stephen King My favorite King book ever. Screw the movie, because as good as it was, the book is just so much more terrifying. It’s tough to unnerve me with reading material, but King did it.

7. The Inferno, by Dante Alighieri The classic tale of the seven levels of hell. I love this book, though I had to read it a few times, I’ll admit. The descriptions, the atmosphere… it’s always good for a little inspiration when it comes to my writing.

6. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut This crazy-ass book is a war novel, no, it’s about time travel, no, it’s, it’s… whatever it is, it’s bloody brilliant. This was my introduction to Vonnegut’s work and remains my favorite thing he’s done.

5. The Drive-In, by Joe Lansdale Lansdale is my hero, and this book is one messed-up piece of fiction. His laid-back writing style and firm grasp on language and characterization make him my favorite writer of all time, and this book a must read.

4. The Girl Next Door, by Jack Ketchum Another rough read, though unlike Sebold’s Lucky, there is no notion that everything will be ok, no comic relief, no inspiration. This book is about the pure evils of humanity, the horrific things we can do to each other, and watch be done to others. It’s about how the twisted mind of one adult can warp the minds of children into thinking acts of evil are just games, and how far the human mind can be pushed. This book sickened me and haunted me for weeks. But Ketchum is mesmerizing and treated the material with respect. There is nothing in this book that is just there for shock value, it’s all integral and necessary, and handled brilliantly.

3. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger I read this in high school and it quickly became an old standby. The ultimate coming of age story, Holden Caulfield remains one of my favorite characters ever created. Who doesn’t love a cynic?

2. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess I would have thrown this on the movie list as well, if I had more than 10 to pick, but this one definitely belongs on my book list. I read this in 8th grade for the first time and wouldn’t have been able to make heads or tales of it if my copy hadn’t had a glossary in the back so I could figure out what the hell they were talking about. An experiment on a murderous little prick to change him into a law-abiding citizen? Need I say more?

1. By Bizarre Hands, by Joe Lansdale Yes, I know, Lansdale is on my list twice. Get over it, he’s a god I tell you! This short story collection contains some of most fucked up fiction I have ever read. I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was about six years old, but when I read this book I knew I wanted to write horror. Incidentally, I was only 12 when I read it, and I don’t believe this book belongs anywhere near a 7th grader’s eyes!

You can find Megan at http://myspace.com/meghanknierim. Her story The Hunger will appear in the newest Garden State Horror Writers anthology due out at some point next year.

Holiday Gift Guide – day six – Top Ten

So the new Holiday Guide presents a special new feature! Best Of. That’s right. I got some folks together and asked them to contribute a list of their top ten movies and top ten books. Along with an intro and some pimping of their stuff when I can, we’ll be doing one a day when I have one. I had nothing to do with these lists except soliciting them. The descriptions are the authors’ as are the picks. Remember, I do not write these. The people listed to.

Adrienne Jones is crazy. In that good way.

MOVIES

1. Tideland—Terry Gilliam. The new one from this strange genius is about as out there as it gets.

2. Frailty—Dark and powerful story with a twist. Bill Paxton is amazing.

3. Rushmore—Smart, funny, unique, starring one of the Coppola clones

4. Altered States—an oldy but a goody; I’d forgotten how intense this film was until I watched again recently. Starring a young William Hurt as a genius researcher who taps into his own genetic memory.

5. Lolita—whether it’s the original Kubrick version or the new Lyne version with Jeremy Irons, both do Nabokov justice and then some. The Kubrick version has more humor, while the Lyne Version has more pathos and intensity.

6. Prince Of Darkness—while this Carpenter film is wrought with hokey cheese, and the anti-Christ looks like a jar of bubbling Mountain Dew, something about the Quantum Physics and the time travel dream message never ceases to scare the living crap out of me.

7. Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels—Guy Ritchie just kicks so much ass.

8. Shallow Grave–Danny Boyle and John Hodge, starring a younger Ewan McGregor, this is one of the best dark comedy thrillers ever.

9. Hellraiser–the original, the first, the ONLY one worth a poop.

10. Vampire’s Kiss—This is a black comedy from some years back starring Nicholas Cage as a literary agent who’s convinced himself he’s becoming a vampire.

BOOKS

1. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (horror with a comedic first person voice and edgy, unique characters)

2. The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks—chicks turning into trees, bloodstones, and demons crawling out of a dimensional prison—the fantasy geeks that call Brooks a Tolkien rip off can kiss my ass. Tolkien WISHES.

3. Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite—-one of the best mood writers on the planet, this is by far my favorite work of hers, dark, intense, with wild and creative imagery that will transport you.

4. Steppenwolf: A Novel, by Herman Hesse—Every sentence is a quotable treat, a bible for the free spirit with a dark side.

5. The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell–a literary and scifi masterpiece that will leave you spinning.

6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon—this is a great story told from the first person POV of an autistic pre-teen. Though I think Haddon’s new work is ass, and he’s begun to think he walks on water THIS one is well worth the read.

7. Communion , by Whitley Strieber—anything that can make me sleep with the light on for a month deserves an honorary mention.

8. Losers, by David Eddings—though slow to start, this novel shows off Eddings talent in a way his fantasy work never did.

9. The Tale of the Body Thief by Anne Rice—though part of the Vampire Chronicles, this steps outside the established theme and explores astral projection and then some; works as a stand alone.

10. Eve, by Aurelio O’Brien—a futuristic dystopian world of bio-engineered creature comforts—think X-rated Disney film on acid.

You can also go grab a copy of The Hoax now, and also grab a copy of Adrienne Jones’ new novella Gypsies Stole My Tequila.