New Plan: Whatever the hell I want

cab in a field surrounded by trees, courtesy

It’s hard to start blogging again when I’ve been out of the habit. I have no idea what to talk about, much less how to say it. I recently did a bunch of planning and brainstorming my two marketing-oriented blogs, but I’m still at a loss as to what to say here on Cheese and Glory.

I did have a funny revelation the other day. I can never make myself stick to the various niches I’ve come up with because this is really a lifestyle blog, a very geeky, quirky lifestyle blog. The phrase tends to raise up visions of new moms trying to capitalize on stories of their baby’s poop, or the very carefully crafted narratives of Instagram cool kids, but it’s much broader than that.

Some of my favorite blogs fall under the “lifestyle” category, like Hacker, Ninja, Hooker, Spy, or Jenny Lawson’s The Bloggess. When I think back on all my best performing stuff from many years ago, people seemed to love most the weird stories about my weird days. My recent post, The Vampires Never Showed Up, is in that style.

So, if I give myself permission to blog in that style, rather trying to be just a review and article blog on monster movies or whatever subgenre I’m lately obsessed with, I might just get my writing groove back. That would cool.

So, daily writing exercises on here, Cheese and Glory, where I’m not trying to sell anything in particular and I can do whatever the hell I want. Of course, I’m planning to attach my Ebay and Etsy stores once those are up and running, but that just means that I’ll do whatever I want and have reviews and articles on obscure B-movies.

The vampires never showed up

photo source

We saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Tuesday night. They’re on a 40th anniversary tour, and they still put on a damn good show. The set was all hits, practically a “best of” album collection, and that was okay. The crowd trended older, but you couldn’t tell by the energy they were putting out. This woman in her 50’s sitting just behind us kept screaming “Whoo!… Yeah… Let’s go…” in a raspy voice. She was in the thralls of that sort of ecstatic joy everyone should feel at some point. I think if someone had asked her to die for Tom Petty, she would have.

Tom Petty was visibly amused by the degree to which the crowd was worshipping him. He’d raise his arms, the crowd would cheer; he’d lower his arms, the crowd would quiet down, though not completely. He’d laugh and do it again. He played with that Theremin of human voices for a few moments, then mumbled delightedly into the microphone about the “real mojo on this crowd.” A priest raising up vast quantities of energy to feed the unknowable gods of rock n roll.

It was a great show, and a truly positive experience that I think everyone in that building needed. The Heartbreakers are still stellar musicians, and they love their fans just as much as they are loved. These are things to heed when one is working to build a own cult following.

The crowds were fairly orderly leaving, flowing smoothly towards the main parking garage. Down a sidewalk, around a corner, across a small parking lot, and through a narrow gate that only fit two at a time. Then the stairwell, which is half in shadow under an old oak tree. Hundreds of people, flushed with beer, stoned, happy and sedate.

Everyone got to their cars. Everyone tried to leave.

We pulled out of our parking spot and into the lane, then sat there for nearly 45 minutes. I had a vision of vampire swarms rising up out the tunnels beneath downtown Austin, slowly feasting their way up the parking garage. I pointed out to my husband that the truck in front of us was the best engine candidate for building a barbecue grill, and that we should remember that if and when the situation devolved into cannibalism.

People started getting out of their cars, just a few at first, then in growing numbers, most of them walking towards the teasing shadows of the ground-level stairwell and the unknown dangers of after-midnight on a Tuesday. We did not see any of those people come back.

A few others went around the corner and down the ramp, looking for answers. And they did come back, strange knowledge in their eyes. I looked at my husband, and he nodded. We needed to know. I got out of the car.

I immediately started to choke on 45 minutes of accumulated car fumes, but I waved at my husband that I was fine and started walking. Past the pickup of people we might have to eat, past the Mercedes and monstrous SUV still battling over the last precious inches that would determine who turned that corner first. Down the ramp, past three different cars where couples were yelling in three different dialects of Spanish. Then the ramp’s side cracked open, allowing me to see down below into the next level. I stood there for a moment, and jumped when a car shifted about ten feet forward. And another car immediately backed out into that space, and the line did not move again. There was no ripple forward. No sirens, no supernatural monsters gorging on trapped prey. Only a demand by natural forces, the forces of unbending mathematical laws, that we sit, and we wait. I turned, coughing again as I made my way back.

I spoke to no one on the way back, and no one asked what I had seen. I explained to Reed that we were never getting out of there. Defeated, we put on a podcast interviewing Neil Gaiman about American Gods, and waited.

Review: Black Bolt #1 Promises A Fine New Series

The new Black Bolt comic from Marvel is finally here, and it’s pretty great.

Written by Saladin Ahmed with art by Christian Ward, Issue #1 kicks the series off into a strangely lit, dark direction. I’ve been a fan of Ahmed’s writing ever since I picked up his novel Throne of the Crescent Moon, during one of my “read all the Hugo nominees” phases, and I’ve been looking forward to this book for months. It was worth the wait.

Black Bolt #1 feels like the start of a big, mythic story about escaping a strange Underworld. Black Bolt, king of the Inhumans, has woken up in a prison thanks to the schemes of his mad brother, Maximus. I love stories with chthonic themes, so this was a happy surprise.

The exposition at the beginning of the story plays with poetic devices, reading almost like song lyrics (very metal lyrics), using a repeating mechanism as Black Bolt slowly regains awareness.

He is a king but he walks in filth and darkness…

He is a king, but he wakes in filth and agony…

Black Bolt wakes in filth.

The sequence is pleasantly disturbing, Ahmed’s words laid over Christian Ward’s art, a psychedelic nightmare outlined in creeping pink lines.

This new book promises to be weird and disturbing and a damn good read. I want more.