Monthly Archives: December 2011

Book Review: Sausagey Santa

Sausagey Santa
Sausagey Santa by Carlton Mellick III
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If there’s one thing that you should take away from Sausagey Santa by Carlton Mellick III, it’s probably that you should never marry a woman named Decapitron because she will annihilate you.

“Sly Guy” Matthew Fry is in such a predicament. He marries a dominatrix who calls herself Decapitron, who is also into ultimate fighting by night (you can guess what her signature move is just by her name). But now it’s Christmas Eve, and their family is together to share in her Christmas traditions, which included the telling of the true story of Santa. You see, King Kringle was actually an evil man who hated children and the Baby Jesus, so after several acts in accordance with this hatred, he is cursed to live forever and spread joy to children on Christmas, which is a living Hell for him. He tries to kill himself several times, but he can’t die, and the elves being master worksmen simply repair him. Finally, he thinks he’s found a way out by jumping into a meat grinder. While the elves are perplexed for a couple of days, they finally just stuff Kringle’s meat paste into sausage balloons, reassemble him into a reasonable human shape, and put him back to work. Over time, he learned to enjoy his task, and became known as Sausagey Santa, or Santa for short.

And that’s just the beginning of the story. Things get a lot more complicated when Sly Fry learns the story is true. And Frosty is involved. And there’s a kidnapping. And a cabbage suit. And zombies.

This novel was actually really awesome. I loved this take on the Santa story, and found myself laughing quite a few times, particularly at the way Santa talks like pirate (and laughs like one, as opposed to the traditional “Ho ho ho!”). Great action, great sense of humor, and great at turning conventions on their heads.

A complaint I typically have with a lot of Bizarro books is the ending. That is not the case with this story. The ending was perfect, not necessarily wrapped up nice and neat like a Christmas present, but still perfect for the tone of the story.

If I do have a complaint, it would be two things. The kids were…okay, but frankly felt a little off. Don’t get me wrong, they fit well into the story, and yet it felt like they could use more development or have a couple of them removed altogether. The second is the villain. The only development or characterization we get is background info told by Santa and the elves. He doesn’t have much of a character himself. The old saying goes that an audience will hate a good villain, but love a great one. But this one I was nearly indifferent to and simply had a presence to develop the heroes, and had no real character himself, which was disappointing giving how clever his concept is otherwise.

So break out the television cake, put on those chainsaw angel wings, and fry up some oysters. This one is a good, if only minorly flawed, ride.

Sausagey Santa by Carlton Mellick III earned 4 fried oysters out of 5.

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Book Review: Christmas on Crack

Christmas on Crack by Carlton Mellick III
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mrs. Claus puts a hit out on her unfaithful husband. Giants crabs with laser trying to ruin the perfect Christmas. Elf porn!

These are the Christmas-themed Bizarro short stories that make up Christmas on Crack, edited by Carlton Mellick III. Yes, I chose to read this one in time for the holidays. Because I’m just that twisted.

You’ll have your pick from thoroughly Bizarro stories here, and there’s no shortage of Bizarro-ness. There also no shortage of Christmas-ness in these stories, rather than stories that are only loosely related to Christmas. Which is strange when you think about the latter. Christmas is a holiday that really lends itself well to this genre.

A quick summary for each story is as follows:

Santa Claus and the Elves of Fuck by Jordan Krall:
Mrs. Claus puts a hit out on Santa for stepping out on her. But did he really step out, or has he been kidnapped?

Frosty and the Full Monty by Jeff Burk:
Frosty comes to life, but finds that living snowmen are addiction-prone, particularly to ice. Snowjobs aplenty.

Unwanted Gifts by Andrew Goldfarb:
A short, one page cartoon.

Two-Way Santa by Kevin L. Donihe:
Santa has quit his north pole gig, but is now homeless. That is, until someone gives him a place to stay for the night…

The Christmas Turn-On by Edmund Colell:
Imagine that the batteries used in your Christmas toys were alive and looked forward to Christmas because to them it was one big orgy.

The Elf-Slut Sisters by Cameron Pierce and Kirsten Alene:
In short, elf porn. Dark elf porn. Twisted and dark elf porn.

Christmas Crabs by Kevin Shamel:
Giant crabs with lasers try to ruin Christmas, but Rudy Olen won’t let that stop him from having the perfect family Christmas.

So, how are they? As is often the case with anthologies, some of these stories are better than others, and it’s really according to taste, but there’s really not a miss among them. They’re all solid stories told in a few pages each. My particular favorite was Christmas Crabs, but again this is likely according to taste as this story brought up memories of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” a classic in its own right. The Elf Slut Sisters might be a little disturbing, no make that a lot disturbing, to those who aren’t prepared or haven’t read things by Cameron Pierce before. Fortunately, I’ve read and reviewed Ass Goblins of Aushwitz previously, so I had some idea what I was in for.

If you’re looking for some really messed-up Christmas stories, this is the place. There’s something for everyone and every level and type of dementia (we’re all a little mad). At the same time, being short stories by different authors, there are going to be certain stories that simply won’t click with some readers. It’s a measured risk with anthologies. However, I can still give the collection a hearty recommendation.

Christmas on Crack, edited by Carlton Mellick III, earns 4 “Ho’s” our of 5.

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Book Review: Beyond the Valley of the Apocalypse Donkeys

Beyond the Valley of the Apocalypse Donkeys
Beyond the Valley of the Apocalypse Donkeys by Jordan Krall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Upon reading the title, your first thought may be “What exactly is an Apocalypse Donkey?” For the answer to this question, please call 1-800-APOCADONK.

Okay, so my first thought on reading Beyond the Valley of the Apocalypse Donkeys by Jordan Krall was that the author needs to lay off the acid for a bit. This one gets weird. Like, really weird. But then again, it has to. How else can you fit nudists, donkey masks, green hummingbirds, and blueberry pancakes in the same narrative?

Henry delivers sporting goods to a nudist colony for his uncle, Vincent. As such, he’s allowed to periodically “hang out” (get it?), and at one points meets an older woman wearing a donkey mask which she never takes off. While the two have their tryst (she’s cheating on her ex-dare-devil husband, Bill, although he’s well aware of her infidelity, not to mention his own), Henry is also dealing with Gary, who believes (i.e., obsessed) that Henry could get him a copy of one of the rarest movies in existence, “The Apocalypse Donkey.” A murder, a kidnapping, a not-quite orgy, a director’s cut, blueberry pancakes, and general mayhem later, and you’re left asking “What did I just read?”

But the thing is, like “The Apocalypse Donkey” and blueberry pancakes, it sticks with you. You keep reading, wondering where it’s going, and afterwords you keep thinking about it and wonder where it went. This is the mark of a good writer, making you continue to think about the book long after it’s done. Like blueberry pancakes, you’ll keep digesting it over and over. And in the end, you realize things really couldn’t have gone any other way.

When reading this book, you’ll also need to be sure that you read the Afterword by Matthew Revert. This is a little gem tucked in at the end that I’m concerned being an Afterword will get largely ignored by many who read the book. Written as an alternate history and telling the tale of the “original” Jordan Krall (as explained in the Foreword) and production and publication of the Beyond the Valley of the Apocalypse Donkeys, the best way I can describe it is “mind-numbingly hysterical.”

Beyond the Valley of the Apocalypse Donkeys by Jordan Krall earns 4 out of 5 stars.

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NaNoWriMo: Fail; Weight-Loss: Meh

ThumbnailMore than a month without an honest blog post. Because I’ve been working hard…or hardly working.

In short, I ultimately did not participate in the National Novel Writing Month this year. I had everything ready to go, and at the closing bell on November 30, my word count towards a NaNoWriMo novel was a whopping zero. That’s not to say that I didn’t work on anything. As I had decided near the end of October, I chose to focus on the manuscript for “Payroll,” but that has also slowed down somewhat, and I’m losing faith that I’ll finish the manuscript by the end of the year as I had hoped. Am I disappointed? Of course, especially because I thought my idea for a NaNo novella was not bad. Maybe not great, but something to write in the insane pace of NaNoWriMo that I could feel comfortable with and not get too attached to.

But, as I said, I also didn’t get as much work done as I had hoped in general during November. Aside from increasing the amount of time I’m spending trying to find regular work, I’ve also had some depression issues that started around the end of October. This isn’t unusual for this time of year, and it’s been something I’ve struggled with in the NaNoWriMo years I’ve participated. Every year around this time, I start to suffer from a general depressed feeling. I’m pretty sure it’s not Seasonal Affective Disorder (more commonly known as SAD) because I tend to feel the same way around April and May of each year, too. It seems to run on a six month cycle, so it likely has a biological basis. I think I’m starting to do a little better now. It’s also probably the reason I haven’t written an honest blog post for over a month now.

I have started exercising and trying to improve my diet, not only to combat my current depression issues, but also because I really need to lose weight and get in better shape. I’ve had some other physical issues, and with my back problems getting worse as the weather gets colder, I’ve decided to actively try and strengthen it before I become bedridden again with back pain during the winter to see if I can make it easier or shorten the down time. When I weighed myself a couple weeks ago, I weighed in at 199 lbs. Not good, and my blood pressure has been responding in kind, being in a pretty consistent state of prehypertension. That’s the biggest concern. However, my girlfriend gave me twist stepper as an early Christmas present, something I can use to get a good lower-body cardio workout that’s low impact so my back is able to handle it. As of now, I’ve only lost about 2 or 3 pounds (my scale is not terribly precise), but I’m looking leaner in the face and neck, and my girlfriend has said that I’m looking different. I’m chalking up my slow weight-loss right now to muscle gain, as I’ve been taking protein shakes after my workouts to facilitate muscle-healing, but it seems to be having the side effect of building a lot more muscle than I’m used to. The fact that I’m looking leaner with much actual weight-loss would confirm this.

I’ve also started drinking these nasty vegetable drinks, which consists of spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomato, cucumber, a squeeze of lemon, and water blended together to get the maximum nutrients out of it. I’ll admit, it doesn’t taste great, but after a few time, it felt like my body was craving this drink, like it was desperate for the nutrients. Actually, it’s more tasteless than anything, so the squeeze of lemon gives it some needed flavor and opens it up a bit.

Of course, during all of this, I seem to have caught the cold that won’t die, so while I’m still doing all of these things to fix my body, a virus seems to have some other ideas. So, I’m cutting this blog post a little short as I’m still groggy from the NyQuil and it’s hard to concentrate. The only good thing about being sick is having a reason to take that stuff.