January 2012

  • Spider on My Head: Day 7


    If I’ve learned anything from seven days of spiders on my head, it’s that I probably wouldn’t have a head after the eighth day. And while I’m sure an illustration of my decapitated corpse might appeal to someone—this is the Internet, after all—it’s not likely to be anyone who reads this blog with any regularity.

    Art by Natalie Metzger (AKA, The Fuzzy Slug). Many, many thanks to Natalie for turning my silly whim into…not reality, but perhaps surreality. As always, click the image for added embiggaliciousness.


    FUN FACT: Just as the spider in today’s illustration is watching me, there is probably a spider watching you right now. Watching you with eight eyes. Tell me that doesn’t make you just a little bit paranoid.

  • Spider on My Head: Day 6


    In the nearly nine years they’ve been living at the International House of Johnson, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have not proven to be especially effective spider hunters; they are, at best, inconsistent. I can recall one occasion when one of the cats (Rosie, I believe) cornered a spider and “played” with the arachnid until it expired. There was a rather unenthusiastic attempt at consuming the recently-deceased, but apparently spiders don’t taste very good and I ultimately had to dispose of the corpse myself. Since that day, I’ve seen eight-legged intruders trundle across the floor inches away from one cat or the other, in full view and yet completely ignored.

    It should come as no surprise, then, that the cat sleeping behind me in today’s illustration displays nary a hint of the predator-prey instinct, nor any sort of compulsion to protect its master from enormous, hideously-befanged arachnid horror.

    Art by Natalie Metzger (AKA, The Fuzzy Slug). Click to embiggenize.


    FUN FACT: I can only assume that The Bosom & The Bacon (a) was written by Jane Austen, is (b) an immediate sequel to Pride & Prejudice, and (c) features Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet Darcy in a rather ribald kitchen scene that at least partially inspired the film 9 1/2 Weeks. I would totally read this novel. In hardcover. Twice.

  • Spider on My Head: Day 5


    I think it’s safe to say that the tenuous link between reality and fantasy has been severed in today’s illustration. I mean, when was the last time Important Stuff—even as an abstract—was discussed in a meeting?

    Art by Natalize Metzger (AKA, The Fuzzy Slug). Click for embiggory.


    FUN FACT: Spiders are not my Apex Phobia. I believe they rank 3rd, overall. Immediately above spiders: heights. At the very top of the list: losing my glasses. I don’t even know if there’s a proper -phobia name for that.

  • Spider on My Head: Day 4


    I read once that you are never more than three feet from a spider, which seems entirely plausible in my case but is actually another spider myth. Today’s spider is large enough to pose a real threat…to my sandwich. It’s bad enough that the thing is an eight-legged denizen of my worst nightmares, now I have to worry about it stealing my lunch, too.

    Art by Natalie Metzger (AKA, The Fuzzy Slug). Click for the embiggening.


    FUN FACT: I don’t eat cold Swiss cheese, so that bit of hole-riddled stuff sticking out of my sandwich is something else entirely.

  • Spider on My Head: Day 3


    “Here in my car, I go safest of all…” — Gary Numan, “Cars”

    Spiders frequently take up residence in the driver’s-side wing mirror on the MvoD, but they rarely manage to infiltrate the passenger compartment. This is probably a good thing, as the only thing more likely to make me freak out and drive into a ditch would be a swarm of bees. Or even a single bee. As a general rule, if it has more than four legs and/or wings, it shouldn’t be in the minivan with me or bad things are bound to happen.

    Art by Natalie Metzger (AKA, The Fuzzy Slug). Click to embiggenate.


    FUN FACT: I do not own a Darth Vader bobblehead or a dangly Sharktopus, but I now want them both. Maybe that’s a Sharktopus air-freshener, which would probably do little in the way of freshening air; quite the opposite, I expect.

  • Spider on My Head: Day 2


    To paraphrase Henry Jones, Sr., my situation has not improved. Having survived yesterday’s encounter with an arachnid in my bed, I am somewhat dismayed to learn that certain varieties of spiders are attracted to the minty-fresh scent of AquaFresh Extra Whitening toothpaste.

    Art by Natalie Metzger (AKA, The Fuzzy Slug). Click to embiggenify.


    FUN FACT: You may have heard that the average person unwittingly swallows eight spiders each year while he or she sleeps. Not only is this untrue, it was made up by PC Professional columnist Lisa Holst as an example of silly things people believe just because they read them on the Internet.

  • Spider on My Head: Day 1


    Remember when my son was practicing for April Fool’s Day last year? Shortly after I blogged about it, I commissioned Natalie Metzger (AKA The Fuzzy Slug) to do a series of drawings featuring my worst fear: a spider on my head. Here is the first of the series, wherein I wake to an unpleasant realization.


    FUN FACT: A jumping spider spun its web on the brass headboard of my bed when I was a teenager. Every other variety of spider commonly found in the Great Lakes region creeps me right the hell out, but the jumping spider doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Even so, I probably wouldn’t react well to waking up with one on my forehead.

  • The Books of 2011


    Here are the novels I read in 2011:

    1. The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium, Book 2) by Steig Larsson. Kindle. 


    2. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Millennium, Book 3) by Steig Larsson. Kindle. 


    3. Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century, Book 1) by Cherie Priest. Kindle. 


    4. The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 1) by Patrick Rothfuss. Audio, read by Nick Podehl. 


    5. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. Hardcover. 


    6. The Buntline Special: A Weird West Tale by Mike Resnick. Hardcover.


    7. Bite Me: A Love Story (San Francisco Vampires, Book 3) by Christopher Moore. Audio, read by Susan Bennett. 


    8. Midnight Riot (Rivers of London, Book 1) by Ben Aaronovitch. Kindle. 


    9. Dead Until Dark (A Sookie Stackhouse Novel) by Charlaine Harris. Audio, read by Johanna Parker.


    10. Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate, Book 2) by Gail Carriger. Kindle. 


    11. Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse, Book 1) by James S. A. Corey. Kindle. 


    12. Room by Emma Donoghue. Hardcover. 


    13. 007: Carte Blanche by Jeffrey Deaver. Hardcover. 


    14. Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. Kindle. 


    15. Life Itself: A Memoir by Roger Ebert. Audio, read by Edward Herrmann. 


    16. A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore. Kindle. 


    17. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Paperback. 


    18. Retribution Falls (Tales of the Ketty Jay, Book 1) by Chris Wooding. Kindle. 


    19. The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, Book 1) by Suzanne Collins. Kindle. 


    20. The Black Lung Captain (Tales of the Ketty Jay, Book 2) by Chris Wooding. Kindle. 


    21. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Kindle. 


    22. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, Book 2) by Suzanne Collins. Kindle. 


    Life Itself: A Memoir by Roger Ebert (cover)

    Best of the lot was probably Life Itself: A Memoir by Roger Ebert, thanks in no small part to Edward Herrmann’s excellent narration; Herrmann doesn’t sound like Roger Ebert, but manages to capture his voice nonetheless.

    The best fiction is tough to nail down. Though I read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo in the last week of 2010, I think Steig Larsson’s Millennium trilogy takes the prize. If I had to choose a single book, it would be a toss-up between Room by Emma Donoghue and The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

    Biggest disappointment? That’s a tie between The Buntline Special and 007: Carte Blanche; the former felt sketchy to me—more like an outline than a full-blown novel—while the latter was largely satisfying but I thought Deaver relied too much on cleverness by omission.

    2012 has begun with a monster of a book: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, which will be followed by Mockingjay, the finale of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy. I’m also listening to Under the Dome by Stephen King (another monster, clocking in at over 30 hours of audio).

    What was the best book you read last year? The worst? What’s the first book you read in 2012?