With regret and also hope, The First Eric Sanderson

It’s not often I get hit as hard by a book as I did by The Raw Shark Texts. I just finished it this morning on my way into work, and, wow. I am completely bowled over. And this is just author Steven Hall’s first novel.

It is the story of a man named Eric Sanderson who wakes up with complete amnesia. He has no idea who or where he is, only that he has just woken up in extreme panic. (I might skip the rest of this paragraph if I were you. At least not if I didn’t like spoilers.) Finding a note giving him instructions, he calls up a psychiatrist, Dr. Randle, who has been handling his case. This was the eleventh recurrence of his memory loss. Sanderson begins to receive letters and packages from his past self, set on delay to arrive periodically. By following the instructions and crawling further and further into a strange world, Sanderson tries to escape from his recurring and ever increasingly real dreams of being hunted by a giant shark. Not only is he haunted by the shark, but also by his past which always sits just out of reach. The text continues to follow Sanderson deeper and deeper into either insanity or enlightenment; it’s never clear which. The shark, it turns out, is a conceptual fish, hunting Sanderson, wanting to consume his self. Eric must find a way to kill the shark, there is no other escape. Continue reading


For those about to rock, we salute you!

Yesterday was a good day.  It was the final stop of the 2008 Vans Warped Tour and I was there.  Nine stages with shows starting at each every thirty to forty-five minutes.  Everyone needs a good mainstream rock show every once in a while.  We showed up right at opening and stayed all day when we were finally yelled at by a rather large and somewhat pissed off security guard hustling people out so he could go home.  I am sore, and my right arm (my rock arm) is a bit stiff.  Both signs that I had a good time.

It was the first concert I’ve been to in some time and there were so many things that I had forgotten about, so many things I didn’t even remember I had missed: the crowds, the carpet of fliers and empty water bottles, the smell of sweat, cheap beer and pot all mixing together in the pits. Ah, the pits.

The great thing about a show like this one was there really is something for everyone. Punks, metal-heads, chick-rockers, skas, hip-hop fans, and straight-up rockers, everyone had at least one band to really get excited about.  I’m into a lot of different types of music, and the smorgasbord offered up made for a musically fulfilling day.
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Yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery. You got to make it do what it do in the moment baby.

After hearing about the movie 21 for some time and having been constantly asked whether I had seen it yet, I finally watched it. It was more of a situation where we were at the video store trading in our online rentals and didn’t really feel like taking the time to make the rounds through the store. We were tired. We decided to just grab this one as it was first in the new release section and go.

You know how they say driving tired is the same as driving drunk? It’s the same with picking movies. When you’re tired your reasoning skills go out window. This is my excuse. We didn’t even get around to watching the movie that night; we just went to bed.

We watched it last night and I thought there were some really funny moments to the movie, the only problem being that those particular moments were not intended to be funny. (You may or may not consider some of the following comments to be spoilers. I don’t but you might so read at your own discretion.)
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And we have a winner.

Well, if you entered in the Great Random Book Giveaway of August 1, thank you very much for joining in. Last night I printed off a list of all entries, folded them once, and drew the winner out of a hat. Well it wasn’t so much of a hat as it was a vase, actually kind of an urn. No ashes or anything, don’t worry.

At any rate a winner was drawn. So congratulations go to James Nichols on winning a copy of That Old Ace in the Hole by Annie Proulx. I very much enjoyed the book when I read it, and I hope James will as well.

Thanks to everyone that entered, especially to those who posted on their blogs about he contest. Be sure to check back often as I’ll probably be doing this on a somewhat regular basis.


Nothing new under the sun. Not a thing.

I am definitely a movie person. I love movies. I love comedies, dramas, action movies, foreign films and romantic comedies. I even watch dance movies with my wife. Not really my thing, but I’ll still watch them because I love movies. However, there is one genre that really irks me: sports movies. I just can’t really get into them.

For one thing, you always know how the movie is going to end. The good guy wins. There are a few exceptions (e.g. Rocky), but this is definitely the rule. This defect can be set aside, but the real issue I have is that pretty much every sports movie is the exact same. They might feature different sports, and they may have different settings, but they all have the same story. To illustrate my point, I present the plot outline of every sports movie ever made with examples on some points.

– Introduction to the underdog, illustrated with a crushing defeat, taunting by winners and depression
– New coach introduced (Might Ducks, Hoosiers, A League of their Own, Coach Carter, etc.)
– Everyone hates coach for unorthodox ideas (possible racial tension) (Remember the Titans, Glory Road, Mighty Ducks) Continue reading

Our best thoughts come from others. aka The Links Vol. 2

Here are a few more websites I think you all might enjoy. Give them a shot and let me know what you think.

Noisetrade.com – This site is a great place to find a few new bands. The music is available on a name your own price scheme, which is nice, or you can choose to invite three friends to download the same album and then you get it free. I’m sure I have annoyed friends who keep getting email invitations, but at least I’ve gotten some good music out of it. Downloads are full albums only, with about fifty albums available right now.

Daytrotter.com – The music information website is different than a lot of other music site out there. It’s hard to nail down just why I like it, but I do. Give it a shot, then maybe you can tell me why I like it.

NoDebtPlan.net – This is a good personal finance blog. Continue reading

And Now, a Book Giveaway.

******** This Contest Is Now Closed ***************

I’m going to try something new, and we’ll have to see how well everyone likes it. If you all do, we might make this a regular thing.

If you’ve read more than a couple posts here at The Eighth Art, you’re well aware of the fact that I love books. I buy new ones whenever I get the chance. I have reached a point, rather I passed the point some time ago, where I have too many books. Let me qualify: I don’t really think you could ever really have too many books, and I love to be surrounded by them. However, I live in a one bedroom apartment, and space is at a premium.

And so, here’s the idea: A book giveaway here on The Eighth Art. Not exactly an original idea in and of itself, so here’s the spin. I will be picking the book at random from my library after I have all the entries. I’ll post the title of the book and the winner of the drawing at the same time next Friday (August 8).
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