Friday, April 21, 2017

Radical Candor

I joined my office's book club again, this time to read Radical Candor. The title piqued my interest so I gave it a whirl.

It was so-so. If you're a new boss or never managed people before then you might actually find a lot of good in this book. But if you've been in management for a while then this is pretty stale, to be honest. There's nothing new in the book. Nothing earth-shattering. And unfortunately nothing really "radical."

Should we all care deeply about our team and talk candidly? Absolutely. Do I need to read a couple hundred pages about it? Not at all. Would have been fine as an article or a TED Talk.

Oh well.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Born Standing Up

I can't remember who told me to read Steve Martin's bio. Someone freaking recommended it to me. Anyway, I grabbed Born Standing Up a little while ago and just read it. It's a very fast read. Only 200 pages and they fly by. You could read it in one sitting pretty easily if you don't have anything to do.

I didn't realize that it was a bio that focused exclusively on his standup career and didn't really delve into his movie side. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of his standup. It's his film career that I much prefer. But I loved his books, too, so I figured I'd check it out. He's a freakin great author. Shopgirl was good but An Object of Beauty was GREAT!

Anyhow, this is a fun, fast read. It documents Steve's humble beginnings, his slow ascension to stardom, and it reveals a lot about his process. His dedication and laser focus on honing his craft is second to none. Steve got where he got through sheer force of will. I think many people would have given up long before Steve started to see some payback for his efforts.

I can't do anything about the time in which I was born, but given the chance I think coming of age in the Summer of Love would have been a pretty groovy time to be alive, if ya know what I mean.

Recommended. But would like to read something that documents his time from when he started getting into films and then eventually into books.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories

What is there to say about Lovecraft that hasn't already been said? His stories are wildly influential and his reach is eternal. His lore will live forever.

And with good cause.

This is a fantastic collection of classic Lovecraft stories. I'd read some before but many were new to me. This is a great start for anyone interested in fear, dread, and suspense. His stories suck you in from the very start. They have to as they're all either short stories or novellas. There's no bullshit. The plot just builds and builds as the tension is heightened with every turn of the page. This is awesome stuff for nerds of any age. It'll definitely be something I turn young River on to when he's ready. Lovecraft paints such vivid pictures in your mind. Pictures of mind-bending physics and monolithic scale. Pictures of cosmic terror. It rules.

I love that they're all quick reads, too. Makes it easy to get through at your leisure. You can read something else simultaneously and easily flip between two books if you like.

Essential. Yeah.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Set the Boy Free

I loved this book. It blew Morrissey's autobiography out of the water. Where Moz's was lyrical and abstract, Marr's was down to Earth and straightforward. Where Moz's was confusing, Marr's was educational. Moz wrote like a pretentious poet and Marr wrote like a regular bloke.

I'm not shitting on Moz as a singer/song-writer/performer. He's a fucking god. But as an author? He sucks. I had his first fictional novel in my Amazon WishList, but after reading his bio I took it out.

Anyway, this is about Marr's bio. And it rules. There's an obvious three act story going on. Pre-Smiths, The Smiths, and post-Smiths. And he treats each area with careful consideration. There's no one area that stands out any more than the rest really. They're all equally engrossing.

It's quite an inspirational tale. And definitely recommended if you like the Smiths or play guitar.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans

A documentary about a pseudo-documentary. Hell yeah!

Le Mans is in my second favorite automotive movie of all time, right behind Grand Prix. It's a phenomenal flick. It is to motor racing what Easy Rider is to biker flicks...sort of.

Steve went to Le Mans under the steam of his own Solar Production Company and just started shooting. No script. Just shooting. No idea what to do other than capture the essence of the drivers (especially) and the cars at Le Mans. He'd figure out a script and a plot on the fly. Fuckin right on. But it didn't exactly all pan out as planned...

This is that story. This is behind-the-scenes report on Steve, the shoot, the politics, and the people involved in an incredible Steve McQueen movie.

I streamed it on Amazon. If you like Le Mans or Steve McQueen then you will dig this.

If you love cars then watch Le Mans. It's that simple.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Walking Dead: 27 The Whisperer War

I was hanging with some homies last weekend and Tony brought up the Walking Dead. I realized I was a couple TPB's behind so I bought them on Amazon on the spot. I read both in the last two days. Man, lots of heart-in-mouth moments. Very intense bunch of issues. Loved it.

Some very interesting character evolution in this book. Yup, there's tons of zombies being slain, but the best part of TWD is the character development. And this book really delivers.

So god damn good.

The Walking Dead: 26 Call To Arms

Holy shit! Things got intense as fuck. A bunch of crazy ass shit happened. And then more crazy stuff happened, then things really went bananas at the end. Got it?

I stopped watching the series years ago, but man, the comic is still freakin awesome.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Metallica: Back to the Front

I think I originally saw this book in Steve from Crypt Sermon's Instagram feed. I hadn't heard about it, but being a sucker for metal bio's I snapped it up.

Best $25 I've spent in ages!

This book is REALLY fucking well done. It's a big, heavy tome, that covers the time leading up to and immediately after Master of Puppets. Of course, it ends with the untimely and tragic death of Cliff Burton. But it really is a great testament to Cliff and his legacy. You definitely get the feeling that he was the focal point and the glue of Metallica during that era. We all know that Metallica is James and Lars's band, but Cliff was the soul. It's undeniable. The guy was cool as James Dean.

A nice surprise was the fact that James and Lars don't come across like complete tools. In reflecting on their past they somehow reverted to their naive, energetic, cool younger selves. This isn't the "Some Kind of Monster" bullshit. This is classic stuff.

The story is told through the words of all the people who were there, from roadies to fans to producers, to girlfriends, to the band themselves. The layout is great. It's a labor of love.

Get it now!!!!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Trip with the Teacher

Watched Trip with the Teacher at the last Motorcycle Movie Night. We knew it wasn't a true biker flick, but pickings are getting slim. We've seen almost every single biker movie ever made by now. Especially from the 60's. So we're branching out into flicks that are marketed as biker flicks even though they're not really....

Having said that...we had a blast. This was a fun movie. At some point someone had to say, "you do realize you're cheering for a rape scene, right?" So things were getting a little out of hand. Maybe it was all the pizza we consumed.

Anyway, this is about some hot young girls who are going on a camping trip. Their bus breaks down and a couple sketchy dudes on bikes offer to help them. Well, they weren't being very honest. They had other ideas for the young girls in booty shorts. It involved an abandoned shack, some alcohol and an old mattress.

Surprisingly I recommend this flick if you like shitty pseudo-exploitation films. It promises TnA but doesn't really deliver. :(

Friday, February 17, 2017

Hell's Bloody Devils

We watched Hell's Bloody Devils again. I was too hard on it in the first review.  It's actually pretty freakin bad ass. I think I was just so pissed because it's not really a biker flick, it just has some bikers in it. The thing that really impressed me this time around was the cinematography. It was shot by none other than László Kovács. He did everything from Easy Rider to Ghostbusters. The guy is really talented. So while the acting isn't good and the plot is's a great film to look at. And the women are untouchable.

Definitely recommended.